District judge John McClendon ruled Monday that Hollis Daniels' confession to Lubbock police detectives that he killed a Texas Tech Police officer in 2017 will be admitted at his capital murder trial.
McClendon, who presides over the 137th District Court, issued his ruling after a Friday morning hearing over Daniel's motion to throw out the interview.
Defense attorney Chip argued that detectives should have ended the interview after his client invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and asked if he needed an attorney during the police interrogation.
Meanwhile, Lubbock County District Attorney Sunshine Stanek argued that Daniels did not clearly invoke his Fifth Amendment right during the interrogation because he kept speaking to detectives immediately after he said he was going to remain silent and that he didn't want to terminate the interview.
Daniels, 25, is charged with capital murder in the Oct. 9, 2017, fatal shooting of Texas Tech Police Officer Floyd East at the police headquarters. He faces punishment of life in prison without parole or the death penalty. The Lubbock County District Attorney's Office is seeking the death penalty in the case.
A trial is tentatively set for Oct. 10.
Daniels was arrested on the Tech Campus at the end of a two-hour long manhunt after a gunshot rang out at the Texas Tech Police Department headquarters where East was filling out paperwork for Daniels' arrest on an unrelated offense.
He reportedly told arresting officers that "he was the one that shot their friend," according to an arrest warrant.
Shortly after his arrest, he was interviewed by Lubbock police detectives Thomas Bonds and Daniel Williams at the Lubbock police headquarters downtown.
During the hearing, Bonds told the court that Daniels was brought into his office wearing a "spit hood." Court documents filed in 2017 also state that Daniels spat at a police officer during his arrest. However, Bonds described Daniels -- who was 19 at the time -- as polite, respectful and compliant during the interview.
The video of the interview was not played in court during the hearing. Instead, District Judge John McClendon, reviewed the video prior to the hearing. McClendon issued a news media gag order in the case shortly after Daniels was indicted in 2017 to avoid providing grounds for a change of venue.
"Due to the fact that this case has not yet been tried, the Court is of the opinion that the release of any reports, audio, video tapes or other information in the possession of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, or the defense attorneys could potentially cause grounds for a change of venue in the trials of this defendant," the judge wrote in the order.
However, the state's response to Lewis' motion to suppress the interview with detectives included an outline of the recorded interview, which spanned about 13 minutes.
The response, which was filed Sept. 20, states that Daniels asked detectives if he needed an attorney present and they told him that it was up to him.
Daniels reportedly told detectives that he didn't want to end the interview but said he was going to go ahead and remain silent.
However, he immediately tells detectives details of the shooting without any prompting from them.
"He just started to talk," Bonds said in court.
Bonds said Daniels asked more questions during the interview than they did
In his motion to suppress the interview, Lewis argued that his client's Fifth Amendment rights were violated when the detectives failed to end the interview after Daniels said he was going to remain silent.
Stanek referred the court to the arguments they made in their response which stated that Daniels did not clearly invoke his right to an attorney when he asked the detectives if one should present at the interview.
"Thus under the circumstances, Detectives Bonds and Williams were not required to cease the interrogation since there was not an unambiguous request for counsel during the custodial interrogation," the response states.
Prosecutors also said that Daniels did not clearly invoke his right to remain silent since he immediately made unprompted statements to detectives about the fatal shooting.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Hollis Daniels police interview to be admitted in capital murder trial