LUBBOCK, Texas — Hollis Daniels, 24, pleaded guilty to capital murder at the start of his trial Monday morning. He admitted he shot and killed a police officer, Floyd East Jr., on the campus of Texas Tech University in October 2017.
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In front of a judge in open court, Daniels said “I plead guilty because I’m responsible.”
However, the trial will continue. Prosecutors with the office of Lubbock County Criminal District Attorney are seeking the death penalty. For that reason, the jury will still need to hear witnesses and examine the evidence before rendering a verdict, yes or no, on the death sentence.
“The young man seated in front of you is not the 19-year-old youngster that shot officer East,” Daniels’ defense argued. “To this day, he has no independent recollection of the shooting.”
East, an El Pasoan, arrested Daniels for possession of a controlled substance on the evening of October 9, 2017.
Once Daniels was inside the Texas Tech Police Department building, Daniels was allowed out of handcuffs long enough to sign documents. Daniels had with him a gun which he was able to steal a few days before his arrest.
He shot and killed East and then ran away. He was captured less than two hours later.
In opening arguments, prosecutors said that, “The defendant [Daniels] takes out the gun and shoots officer East point blank” and that, “Officer East lived out his oath to protect and serve.”
According to court documents, Daniels bragged about his actions while held in the Lubbock County Detention Center.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as witnesses are called in the trial.