State rests in Daniel sentencing phase


by Shannon Murray / KVUE News & Tina Shively / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @TinaS_KVUE

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 25 at 7:27 PM

AUSTIN -- The sentencing phase for Brandon Daniel continues. The state rested on Tuesday afternoon after calling Senior Officer Jaime Padron's sister to testify.

Daniel was found guilty last week of the 2012 capital murder of Padron.

Tuesday morning's first witness was a Colorado state trooper who spotted Daniel driving above the speed limit on a motorcycle just north of Denver in 2007.

Trooper Shawn Wycoff said Daniel was riding with a friend and did not initially pull over, but instead went weaving in and out of traffic at speeds of up to 95 miles per hour. Another trooper was able to arrest him on speeding, not having the correct license, evading an officer and possessing marijuana.

Next to take the stand was another police officer who currently works in Wyoming, Carena Marino. She began her testimony by stating she wasn't surprised when she saw Daniel's name connected to Padron's murder. She claims that when she and Daniel were in sixth grade, he threatened her on the playground, telling her to lock her doors and windows, that he was gonna come to her house and rape her.

The last to testify was an inmate who, as a trustee on probation, was charged with making sure other inmates did not harm themselves. Louis Escalante said he was curious about what Daniel did to get a different uniform than most inmates.

When Escalante says he asked Daniel what he was in jail for, Daniel told Escalante he killed a cop, chuckling and smirking. Escalante also said Daniel and another inmate were planning an escape at Daniel's court appearance in January of 2013. Escalante says the pair told him they intended for someone to come into the courtroom shooting so he could get away.

Escalante also added that on Monday Daniel told another inmate that Escalante was a snitch and he was talking too much.

In phone calls to his mother, Daniel explained how she to de-code the letters he wrote her.

Tuesday afternoon investigators read leaders Daniel wrote to family members. In one he writes, "I'm living the dream. I'm retired at 25."

Prosecutors also played video of Daniel in jail. In the video, inmates are watching an evening newscast. After video of Daniel's court appearance plays, they applaud and Daniel takes a bow.

Padron's older sister, Linda Diaz, testified last Tuesday.

"He still found time to go visit my parents and visit my other brothers. He never forgot birthdays," she said through tears.

In her emotional testimony, Diaz said her brother served his country and community for more than half of his life as a marine and a police officer. He left behind two daughters.

"His daughters are missing out on a tremendous daddy that they could have had. He was very caring, very loving," she said.

Padron's family has been in the courtroom for nearly all of the testimony. Diaz told the jury it has not been easy.

"It's horrifying. It's almost unbearable. It's not fair," she said.

The defense will begin calling witnesses at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

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