Testimony offers insight into Daniel's mindset



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Posted on February 20, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 11:25 AM

AUSTIN -- Testimony reveals details of Brandon Daniel's life before the deadly shooting of Senior Officer Jaime Padron.

Daniel's capital murder trial is in its third day.

Thursday morning Detective David Fugitt testified that during the interrogation Daniel told him that he worked as a police informant in Colorado. Fugitt was unable to confirm that.

Defense attorneys asked if Daniel had previously met Senior Officer Padron. Weeks before the shooting Padron went to Daniel's apartment complex to investigate a suspicious vehicle.

Fugitt said he wasn't able to determine if they ever spoke.

His testimony also revealed some photos investigators took while searching Daniel's apartment.
The photos showed notes Daniel left for himself on his computer desk. Some contained expletives. One note said, "Stop ****ing yourself up," a believed reference to his Xanax use.
Another note charted a plan to wean himself off the drugs.

Several other notes mentioned his former girlfriend and reminders to buy gifts for her.

The prosecution then played a phone call between Daniel and his mother.

The phone call was recorded a week after the shooting. Daniel's mother sounded anxious and stressed over the fact that her only visitation with her son would be by video camera. She was also supportive. She told Daniel she would get anything he needs while he was behind bars, including money and a laptop he had pawned.

Testimony revealed that Daniel purchased the gun he used in the shooting at a Colorado pawn shop.

Late Thursday afternoon, Padron's oldest brother testified.

"I didn't know a better father than him. He loved those girls tremendously," he said.

Daniel cried as he listened to Johnny Padron talk about his younger brother's love for his two children and how he spent time with them every day. He wanted Jaime to come work with him but said his brother had a passion for service and police work.

Family members started to cry when prosecutors showed a picture of him as a San Angelo Police Officer. They also broke down as Johnny described how he got the news of his little brother's death.

“Finally, he told me, 'He’s dead.' That was the hardest day. And I had to break it to my mom and dad," Johnny said.

He was the state's final witness. Then the defense called Daniel's ex-girlfriend as their first.

Former girlfriend Jenna Feland also got emotional on the stand, detailing how Daniel behaved after their breakup.

"He would tell me a lot he was on a downward spiral. That was on multiple occasions," she said.

She told the jury they met in Colorado and broke up after dating for three and a half years. She said they moved to Austin after he got a job at Hewlett Packard, and they lived together. She testified they smoked marijuana and said he often did other drugs like acid and mushrooms. Feland said she didn’t work at the time, and he had to pay for everything, which is part of why they broke up.

Daniel started to cry in the courtroom as he watched her testimony. Feland said Daniel often seemed depressed, especially after they broke up.

"I kind of always thought he needed to talk to somebody to see if he was depressed or had an imbalance or something," Feland said.

Prosecutors also showed a video of Feland and Daniel during a jailhouse call. In the video, Feland suggests Daniel should sell his story to a reporter for $1 million. Just before seeing the video, Feland told prosecutors she did not recall saying that.

Click here for live video from the trial.