AUSTIN (KXAN) - Lawyers for the man accused of killing Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron asked prosecutors on Wednesday to let them know as soon as possible whether their client will face the death penalty in the upcoming capital murder trial.
Brandon Daniel made his first court appearance since the April 6 shooting death of the Austin Police officer.
Police arrested the 24-year-old following the North Austin Walmart killing, and a grand jury indicted Daniel on a capital murder charge nearly three months after that.
Padron, 40, was shot to death while responding to an early morning call about someone acting erratically inside the store. When he approached Daniel, the officer was shot in the neck.
Store employees took down Daniel and tried desperately to save Padron's life, police said at the time -- even using his radio to call in for help.
Daniel, who reportedly had been drinking heavily and under the influence of Xanax in the hours before the shooting, could face the death penalty. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg has not said yet whether she will seek the death penalty in the officer's killing.
"It's one thing to knowingly and intentionally, in other words you have to have intent to kill a police officer in the line of duty," said Daniel's defense attorney Bill White. "If you don't then it's not capital murder."
Observers have said that a decision will likely wait while prosecutors make sure they have an air-tight case.
Padron's killing galvanized the Austin community, and his funeral was carried out throughout the course of several days in both Austin and in his hometown of San Angelo.
In June, members of the Austin Police Association paused to say thank you for the support in the aftermath of the death with the release of a video called "We Saw You."
"We've never seen such an outpouring of public support for a fallen brother," said Austin Police Officer Anthony Nelson said in the video that features scenes of ordinary people somberly watching the procession of cars that accompanied Padron's body on the journey home.
Padron joined the Austin Police Department just more than three years ago and also served as a police officer at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport as part of the Emergency Management Department that consolidated with APD in 2009
Before that, he spent 14 years as a police officer in San Angelo.
In Austin, Padron joined represented the North East Area Command for the Austin Police Officers Association's Board of Directors.
Before beginning his career in law enforcement, Padron served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was also deployed in both Gulf wars.
He was 40 and left behind two young daughters as well as parents and other family members who live in San Angelo.
Daniel has been in custody since the shooting. He was also hospitalized in May, but because of medical privacy laws, authorities could not say why.
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A 13-year-old girl who told police she had been kidnapped from her school and assaulted on Monday, admitted to police she made the story up.
TxTAG’s customer call center lines are jammed as toll road violators scramble to pay up and avoid staying on a published scofflaw list.
The U.S. Grand Prix race in Austin next year will be held Nov. 2 and F1 weekend will not coincide with a UT Longhorns home football game.
One woman died early Wednesday after several shots were fired at a North Austin mechanic shop.
Bomb squad officials reported to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after a suspicious package located in a cargo area Wednesday.