The man accused of killing an Austin Police Officer says he pointed the gun at the cop's face and fired. Prosecutors played video of Brandon Daniel's confession during Day three of his capital murder trial.
Detectives can be seen interrogating then 24-year-old Daniel shortly after Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron's death in 2012.
APD Detective Heather Robinson questioned Daniel. She told the jury she was called in to headquarters on April 6th, 2012. Daniel tells Robinson he took four bars of Xanax the night of the shooting. He had recently broken up with his longtime girlfriend and he was depressed. He simply wanted to steal some food and had no intention of killing anyone.
"I went to the Wal-Mart and decided to shoplift a bunch of items and on the way out a cop saw me and I panicked and then I pulled my gun out and shot him," Daniel told detectives.
He says he carried a gun because he had received threats while working as an informant in Colorado.
Daniel tells Robinson he never had the intention of shooting anyone and he feels very bad for the officer who was just doing his job. Inside the interrogation room Daniel had Padron's blood on his person. After the shooting, Daniel said he stopped fighting.
Robinson asked Daniel what he thought should happen to him. "Probably be put to death. I killed a cop," said Daniel.
He tells detectives he feels bad for the officer who was doing his job. Police pushed on for answers as to why Daniel would take a Class C ticket to a capital murder charge. Robinson wanted to know why stealing vegetables was worth shooting an officer in the face.
Jurors also watched dash camera video taken from inside an APD officer's patrol cruiser.
Assistant District Attorney Gary Cobb called APD Patrol Officer Cory Knop to the stand. Knop told the jury a call came out on April 6th, 2012 as officer needs assistance which is one of the highest priorities.
"I jumped in my vehicle and activated my lights and sirens and went to the scene," said Knop. For six minutes, Knop can be seen racing through traffic with his lights flashing and sirens blaring.
At the time he received the initial call Knop told the court he didn't know exactly what was going on. He pulled up to the Wal-Mart at I-35 and Parmer and ran towards the entrance. Knop moved his patrol car minutes later and Daniel was placed in the back seat of the car. Daniel appears out of it. He's moving around the back of the car mumbling to himself.
These are some of the statements he made in the back of the car. The DA's office has added subtitles to the video.
"I shot your (inaudible)."
"Officer, do you have my wallet?"
"Can I get lethal injection? Is that a possibility?"
"At least I get free food and don't have to work again."
That last statement sent members of Padron's family out of the courtroom in tears.
Another officer had collected several items from Daniel's pockets like a driver's license, an apartment key and a magazine with six hollow point bullets. He had some "goodies" in his bag like chips and a couple drinks that looked as though they had come from the store Knop said.
Knop and another officer would eventually drive Daniel down to APD Headquarters for questioning. Knop said given the nature of the situation he was instructed to take a second officer downtown with him.
Daniel continues to talk in the back of the car.
Officer: Gunna ride two deep
Daniel: Why? Cause I blast one of you?
Daniel's words are slurred and thick. He went on to say, "I see you're mad because one of your friends is dead. You guys pissed I capped one of your friends? That's probably it. Well if there's any consolation I met him before. I'm glad he's dead. I will see you all in hell."
On cross examination, Daniel's attorney Brad Urrutia points out that his speech was slurred and during the video Daniel presses his face up against the glass, lays down and moves around. The next witness on the stand was Homicide Detective Brett Bailey. Bailey walked the jury through the crime scene using graphic photos and video taken by APD that night. The video shows yellow crime scene tape up outside Wal-Mart and dozens of patrols cars. The camera operator zooms in on Daniel's green motorcycle parked outside.
Blood spatters could be seen at the threshold of the store's entrance. Multiple pieces of EMS equipment surrounded Padron's body. Some of the evidence collected at the scene included shell casings and a Jimenez Arms .380 gun. Daniel appeared emotional as this evidence was shown to the jury. He wiped his eyes and looked away from the big screen in the courtroom.
The Travis County District Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty. Defense attorneys say the night of the shooting Daniel was highly intoxicated and had self-medicated himself with Xanax. Russel Hunt, one of Daniel's attorneys, argued that while that doesn't excuse his client's behavior it may explain it. They are fighting to spare his life.