AUSTIN (KXAN) - Mary O'Dell, whose son Brandon Daniel is charged with gunning down an Austin police officer at a Walmart on Friday morning, is still trying to make sense of it all.
"Around 10 or so the DWI attorney contacted me, and i knew immediately when he asked me if i was sitting down that we were going to hear some very bad news, and we certainly did hear some very bad news," said Mary O'Dell.
Daniel, 24, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Senior Officer Jaime Padron in a North Austin Walmart store early Friday morning after the officer responded to a call of a possible shoplifter with erratic behavior.
Daniel's mother said via phone from Colorado on Sunday that she spoke with her son just hours before the incident.
"I knew he didn't sound very good, and he told me he had been drinking and taken a Xanax -- and he had taken several," O'Dell said. "I asked him if he had seen a psychiatrist for depression, and he said, 'No.'"
Daniel is now in the Travis County Jail facing charges of capital murder and driving while intoxicated. They are charges defense attorney Carlos Garcia is familiar with, having represented one of the suspects in the notorious yogurt shop murders.
"It's a capital crime and so the death penalty is an option if the district attorney seeks it," said Carlos Garcia.
O'Dell said the crime that Daniel committed was far from the bright, witty, ambitious software engineer she raised, a son who was close to his family and dedicated to his job at Hewlett-Packard.
However, O'Dell said she knew something was wrong when she talked to Daniel on Thursday night. Daniel was in Austin, while O'Dell was at her home in Colorado.
It was O'Dell's first time hearing that her son was taking the antidepressant Xanax. Daniel wasn't prescribed the medication, but he suffered from depression after a bad break-up. That depression only appeared to deepen in recent months, with O'Dell far away from his family and friends.
"One thing he didn't have there was a support system down there," said O'Dell. "He had no friends, and the loss of his girlfriend -- it was very, very hard."
Daniel gave no indication of his plans, O'Dell said. Still, O'Dell was unsettled by their conversation. She said she thought it might be time to fly down to spend some time with her son.
"That evening, I just felt strange about it," said O'Dell. "In fact, Friday morning I had emailed him that I was thinking of him, and to tell him to have a good day at work and that I loved him. I had no idea what had transpired by then.'"
The details of exactly what Brandon Daniel was thinking, are thing Garcia says will be crucial in this case.
"Whenever someone is accused of a capitol case you look at that person's entire life from the moment they are conceived to the moment they are sitting in a jail cell waiting to see what happens to them," said Garcia.
What transpired was a tragic set of events that O'Dell wished she could reverse. Padron, the father of two young girls, is dead. Her son is in Travis County Jail, charged with capital murder.
"We feel equally tragic there is a loss here of another individual of a person who represents order in our society. There's nothing in the world that I could say or do that the family would care to hear," O'Dell said.
Padron's funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Shoreline Church, 15201 Burnet Road in Austin.
O'Dell, meanwhile, is still waiting to talk to her son, who is being held in The Travis County Jail on the capital murder charge and an earlier charge of driving while intoxicated.
"If I could take the bullet for this officer I'd stand there and do it so he could be home today with his kids," O'Dell said, her voice cracking with emotion. "And so my son could be home, and I would do anything to turn it around."
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