Man who killed APD officer denied appeal

The state's highest criminal court has upheld the conviction and death sentence of cop-killer Brandon Daniel.

Daniel's attorneys presented three points in the appeal. They were all rejected and explained in-depth in a 20 page ruling released on February 10.

Daniel is the man behind the 2012 shooting of Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron.

The state's highest criminal court listed many factors in their ruling including "lack of remorse."

"When you're looking to either overturn a conviction or looking at parole, you're looking for somebody where you believe that their behavior is going to be different in the future, than it was in the past. So I think that's where remorse becomes an important component," says Professor Art Markman with the University of Texas Department of Psychology.

It's partly why the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rejected the first argument made by Daniel's attorneys; that evidence during trial was insufficient to support jury findings that he would be a future threat.

Wednesday's ruling states that "He (Daniel) smiled and laughed after killing Padron, took a bow and raised his fist when inmates applauded him after watching news coverage of the case, and bragged to his mother that he was "at the top" of the "prison pecking order" because of the crime that he had committed. He (Daniel) also discussed plans to escape prison and profit from his crime."

"Even somebody with all of the best resources is going to have difficulties surviving effectively in prison. I think that if you combine that with some pre-existing mental illness that can be exacerbated by that very difficult situation, then it wouldn't be surprising to find out that in fact his problems have gotten worse," says Markman.

Markman says it can be difficult to interpret behavior, especially when you're dealing with someone who has to serve multiple goals.

"On the one hand, you want to become someone who can potentially re-enter society or at least become someone who doesn't deserve to be put to death. On the other hand, you also have to deal with the prison population. These are people who have a different social structure than the one you see outside of prison. So you end up having to adapt," says Markman.

In the appeal, defense attorneys also claimed a prospective juror was biased and that they were not allowed to fully question a prosecution witness during the trial's punishment phase. Both of those arguments were overruled by the court as well.

After Daniel's conviction in 2014, he had initially asked that his appeals be dropped to expedite his punishment.

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