Jury selection begins for man accused of killing APD officer



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Posted on January 21, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 21 at 7:17 PM

AUSTIN -- Jury selection has begun in the capital murder trial of a man accused of killing an Austin police officer.

26-year-old Brandon Daniel is accused of shooting senior officer Jaime Padron in April 2012.

140 potential jurors came through Tuesday. By Thursday evening, 400 will have been questioned. In judge Brenda Kennedy's courtroom, questions mostly centered on the rules and guidelines of sitting on a jury. The potential jurors have already answered much more personal questions in a preliminary questionnaire, including questions regarding their thoughts on the death penalty.

"We want to make sure we have folks who can be fair to both sides," said defense attorney Russell Hunt.

In 2012, Padron responded to a shoplifting call at a Wal-Mart near Interstate 35 and Parmer Lane. Police officials say Daniel took a pistol from his pocket and shot Padron while they struggled on the floor of the store.

If convicted, Daniel could face the death penalty.

"There's a concern, always when there's a high profile case, that people will make up their minds ahead of trial, and they won't listen to the evidence," said Hunt.

Still, Hunt said he does not believe a change of venue is necessary for a fair trial.

"In reading the questionnaires, we don't think that's the case at all. We think folks have heard things, but that doesn't mean they can't be fair about the situation," Hunt said. "All we want is 12 fair folks who can and will listen to all the evidence."

Opening statements in the trial are expected to begin on Feb. 18.


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