AUSTIN -- You can expect plenty of police in the courtroom next week as the capital murder trial of Brandon Daniel gets underway. However, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said he will not be attending the trial.
Sitting on Acevedo’s desk is a picture of Senior Officer Jaime Padron.
“That’s a smile I keep here at my desk, because it’s something right here in your mind and your heart. You will never forget that smile, and it just represented who he was to the core,” Acevedo said.
In April 2012, Padron responded to a shoplifting call at a Wal-Mart near Interstate 35 and Parmer Lane. Police officials say Brandon Daniel took a pistol from his pocket and shot Padron while they struggled on the floor of the store.
“It’s something you never forget, an image you never forget," Acevedo said. "You never forget having to make the notification to his former wife, to his two little girls in the middle of the night that their daddy, they will never see him again.”
Acevedo said he won’t be sitting in on the trial. If his officers choose to go, he’s asking them not to wear a uniform unless they’re testifying.
"I don’t want the jury to feel pressure from the police department," Acevedo said. "I want them to focus on the evidence, on the law, doing the right things for the right reasons, not because there are 300 cops in the room in uniform.”
If convicted, Daniel faces the death penalty.
The trial begins with opening statements at 9 a.m. Tuesday.