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Daniel Defense: 'We're Not Saying He's Not Guilty'

Updated: Monday, February 24 2014, 12:14 PM CST

Daniel Brandon's defense is focusing so far on one thing. They're not disputing he shot and killed Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron in 2012 -- they're saying he doesn't deserve the death penalty because he was intoxicated.

"How did he go from that guy on top of the world to the guy on April the 6th who did a terrible thing," asked defense attorney Ross Hunt in opening statements. Hunt believes he knows the answer.

He claims Daniel was highly intoxicated after self-medicating himself with a prescription anti-anxiety drug. In surveillance video Daniel is seen dropping items and staggering through the aisles.

Hunt claims Daniel started taking Xanax after he broke up with his girlfriend.

"Am I trying to say that excuses his behavior? Certainly not. It doesn't excuse his behavior. But does it help explain his behavior? I think it does," Hunt continued.

Hunt hopes that explanation helps his client avoid the death penalty. "We're not saying he's not guilty of anything. We're saying he's not guilty of a capital murder charge and we hope that after hearing the evidence you'll agree," he says.

By Melanie Lofton

Daniel Defense: 'We're Not Saying He's Not Guilty'

Fallen Austin Officers

Amy Donovan

Amy Donovan, 37, Oct. 31, 2004
Officer Donovan was chasing a suspect on foot in East Austin. Her partner put the patrol car in reverse and tried to block the man's escape route. During the chase, the patrol car struck Donovan and pinned her next to a utility pole. Donovan had been a police officer for five months. She was survived by a husband and four children.

Clinton Hunter

Clinton Hunter, 22, Nov. 29, 2001
Officer Hunter was on the I-35 access road near Onion Creek waiting to deploy a stinger, a device used to puncture and flatten tires, to stop car during a chase. The car hit and killed Hunter. He had been an officer for 14 months. Hunter is survived by a wife and two children.

Drew Alan Bolin

Drew Alan Bolin, 25, June 2, 1995
Officer Bolin was directing traffic at an accident site on I-35 when a drunk driver hit and killed him. Bolin had been an officer for five months. He was survived by his parents and fiancee.

Robert Martinez Jr.

Robert Martinez Jr., 26, February 25, 1989
Officer Robert Martinez Jr. died when his patrol car struck a tree. Martinez, who was en route to assist another officer, swerved to avoid a pick up truck that had pulled into his path.

Lee Smith

Lee Smith, 28, December 15, 1979
Officer Smith was chasing a suspect on MoPac when he lost control of his motorcycle. He died from his injuries several months later.

Ralph A. Ablanedo

Ralph A. Ablanedo, 26, May 18, 1978
Officer Ablanedo was shot to death during a traffic stop. The passenger in the car, David Lee Powell, had a warrant for his arrest. He shot Ablanedo with an AK-47. Powell was executed for the murder in 2010.

Read the entire list here.


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