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Crime & Courts

Attorney: Suspect in Texas police officer's death took anti-anxiety drug before the shooting

A lawyer for an ex-software engineer on trial in the 2012 slaying of a Texas police officer has acknowledged to jurors that his client had taken the anti-anxiety drug Xanax the night of the shooting.

In opening statements Tuesday, Russell Hunt Jr. said 26-year-old Brandon Daniel was depressed following a breakup. Daniel could get the death penalty if convicted of capital murder in the fatal shooting of Austin officer Jaime Padron (HEYE'-may pah-DRONE').

Authorities have said Padron responded to reports of a disturbance at a Wal-Mart in April 2012. Investigators say Daniel produced a gun and the 40-year-old Padron was shot as the pair struggled.

Daniel has pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorneys had offered a guilty plea in exchange for a life sentence without parole, but prosecutors rejected the offer.

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