LUBBOCK, Texas – After another emotional day of testimony at the Lubbock County Courthouse, it’s now the defense’s turn. For the last five days in court, prosecutors have argued why Hollis Daniels III deserves the death penalty for killing Texas Tech Police Department (TTPD) Officer Floyd East Jr.

On Monday, prosecutors called a victim of an armed robbery involving Daniels. The victim said Daniels wanted to buy 200 Xanax pills from him. He said when he got into Daniels’ car at Ribble Park, Daniels put a gun to his head and said, “Give it to me.” The witness handed over the pills and got out of the car. This all happened just hours before the deadly shooting on Oct. 9, 2017. 

Orlando Perkins, who used to buy and sell marijuana with Daniels, said he was with him at that same park that day and remembered he said he’d robbed someone at gunpoint and stolen their Xanax. Perkins said this was not like Daniels who was typically calm and quiet.

Before the prosecution rested, they called Officer East’s widow, Carmen East to the stand. She was overseas for work when her husband was killed. She remembered a phone call they had which was Sunday night in Ireland, but Monday morning in Lubbock. Officer East ended the call by saying, “Good night and I love you.” 

Around 3:00 a.m. Ireland time after that phone call, her close friend called her and asked if she had heard from Floyd because she knew there was an officer down at Texas Tech University (TTU) and couldn’t get a hold of him. When her hotel room phone rang about an hour later, she said, “That’s when I knew something had gone down.” An officer broke the news to her that her husband ‘Floyd’ had died in the line of duty. Carmen immediately came home.

The defense’s first witness was Stacy Elliott who was an advisor at TTU back in 2016 when she received an email from Daniels’ mother Janis asking about counseling. Elliott replied back that she wasn’t a counselor, but copied two people who could help. One was Denise Tijerina, the TTU dean of students at the time. 

Tijerina testified next that she was told Janis Daniels called the Texas Tech Crisis Hotline saying that her son stole a gun and that he was suicidal. Tijerina also said that a counselor spoke to Daniels just before 7:00 p.m. that night and denied having a gun or suicidal thoughts.

To close out the day, the jury heard from Andrew Ortiz, Daniels’ suitemate at Talkington Hall. He testified that Daniels used marijuana “all day long every day.” He also said either the night before or the morning of the shooting, he remembered Daniels telling him he’d been taking Xanax for days. Prosecutors asked if he was ever concerned about Daniels being a risk to himself and others. To that, Ortiz responded, “No, that never crossed my mind.”

The court recessed for the day just before 3:30 p.m. Monday and will pick back up at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday with more defense witnesses being called to the stand.