After two full days of testimony the defense rests in the punishment phase of convicted cop killer Brandon Daniel. It is life or death for Daniel who was convicted of killing APD Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron inside a Wal-Mart in 2012.
Rebuttal witnesses are expected to take the stand on Friday then both sides will make their final arguments to the jury.
Daniel's only family member to testify on his behalf tearfully took the stand Thursday. Sherri Schuck, Daniel's aunt, found herself answering questions in the courtroom. Daniel's mom, Mary O'Dell and Sherri are sisters.
She's a county attorney in Kansas and compares her role to that of a district attorney in Texas. Daniel went to live with Schuck when he was a teenager for a brief time.
"He seemed to believe he could drink when he wants to I told him he couldn't and he said his mom let him. I told him you can't here because of what we do for a living," Schuck told the jury. Her husband retired from the local police department.
Daniel seemed depressed and home sick so he went back to Colorado.
Schuck and her sister's relationship is strained. "My sister has always been very liberal about marijuana," she said. In her eyes, O'Dell believed Brandon was old enough to make adult decisions even though he was still a child.
Fast forward to April 2012, Schuck describes receiving a call from APD about the homicide investigation of an Austin police officer. Schuck told the court initially she thought the defendant may have ties to Kansas.
"The more he started talking I asked him if Brandon was a witness and maybe he was in hiding and then he said he had arrested him," Schuck said.
At that point she tried calling her sister who she hadn't spoken to in months. Schuck has made two trips to visit Daniel while in jail. She made it clear O'Dell did not want her to testify.
"She sees me as a sell out because of my profession and because I used to be a police officer and she says somehow I don't love my nephew enough because of that," Schuck said.
"There's nothing ever that made me think he could do something like that. I sit here and I still can't believe we are all here," she said.
The defense called Dr. Harold Scott to the stand. He's a licensed psychiatrist who interviewed Daniel and reviewed hundreds of pages of documents in the case.
Scott says during interviews Daniel described his mother as nuts. He said when he was 11 his mom would make him carry bricks in his back pack so he would know what a burden he was. Scott testified about Daniel's family relationships. Making himself available for interviews Daniel's family members declined.
During rebuttal, prosecutors called APD lead homicide Detective David Fugitt back to the stand. He played a call Daniel made to his younger sister Samantha from jail. In it, he manipulates her into trying to help him and cusses at her. Samantha sobbed as the call played. She is his only immediate family member to sit since day one.
"If you guys don't want to help me then (expletive) don't help me," Daniel said.
"I don't give a (expletive) what it means to you people, you people aren't in a box," said Daniel.
Samantha tries to talk to him about a school project she's working on where she wants to build a website, something Daniel is good at.
"Bran, I don't want you to be mad at me," Samantha said.
We will continue to stream the testimony and closing arguments live on our website at www.myfoxaustin.com