Judge to decide if Daniels will be released

A Webster County District judge will decide this week whether a woman accused of killing her brother will be released from jail while awaiting trial.

Vanita B. Daniels, 24, has been charged with voluntary manslaughter in connection with the death of her brother, Marcquis Collier, 19.

She’s accused of stabbing him in the chest on May 9. He was later pronounced dead at Trinity Regional Medical Center.

Daniels has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to stand trial July 8.

At a bond review hearing Monday, Daniels’ attorney, Joseph McCarville, asked Judge Gary McMinimee to release his client with supervision to the Department of Corrections.

Daniels took the stand to say that if released, she would keep in contact with McCarville and show up to every hearing.

“If you are released, where would you live?” McCarville asked Daniels.

“My grandmother’s,” Daniels said.

“Do you promise to stay in touch with me and show up to all court hearings?”

“Yes.”

Under cross-examination by Jennifer Benson, first assistant Webster County attorney, Daniels said that she has a criminal record which includes a guilty plea to a simple assault charge.

McCarville also called two family members to testify that they wanted Daniels released from jail.

Brenda Webster, the mother of both Daniels and Collier, said her daughter has lived in Fort Dodge since she was 5 years old.

“Even though this is a tragedy, do you want Vanita out of jail?” McCarville asked Webster.

“Yes,” Webster said, adding that she didn’t feel her daughter would be a public safety risk if she were released.

Benson disagreed, calling Daniels a “flight risk.”

“She’s moved around a lot,” Benson said. “Even if it’s always been in Fort Dodge doesn’t mean she’s not a flight risk.”

Benson also said the alleged crime is very serious.

“This was a brutal attack,” she said. “A man is dead as a result of this action.”

McMinimee said he would look over all the information and make a decision later this week regarding whether or not to release Daniels.

In addition to the bond review Monday, a Watson hearing was held to determine whether or not any of the attorneys had a conflict in the case.

McCarville, who filed the motion for the hearing, said he wanted to make the court aware of a possible conflict regarding his previous representation of Collier.

“I have represented Marcquis Collier in the past six months to a year in a domestic abuse case,” McCarville said, adding that he has also represented one of the witnesses who is expected to testify at trial.

While he didn’t go into specific details, he said information he learned from Collier could come up during the case.

“I don’t think there’s a conflict, but I don’t want these issues to come up later,” McCarville said.

He also said Daniels didn’t have any issue with McCarville representing her.

Benson said she didn’t believe there was a conflict either and didn’t raise any objection to McCarville representing Daniels.

With no apparent conflict, McMinimee allowed all attorneys to remain in place.