A Letter from Brandon Daniel – Death Row, Texas
This letter came to us through a third party. It’s an interesting letter and after reading it one gets a clearer picture than the one the media represented while Brandon Daniel’s case was ongoing. It shouldn’t need to be said that the police officer who was killed, Jaime Padron, was a human being just like Brandon. But we’re saying it anyway because our mission has as its core the belief that every person should be treated with respect and kindness, no matter what mistakes they have made in their past.
From all accounts it would appear Padron acted well within his authority. He did not deserve to die. His daughters did not deserve to lose their father. But it also seems reasonable to conclude that Brandon Daniel did not act from forethought and planning. And that should have been something the jury was allowed to consider when given the “authority” to sentence him to death.
To whom it may concern,
My name is Brandon Daniel, and I am writing this letter to you from prison. With police brutality once again in the news, and legal reform a hot topic of discussion, I’m writing to tell you about my legal case, in the hope that I might be able to spread awareness about a common but little known condition that is responsible for sending others to prison, and perhaps to leverage your platform to gain support as well. My case involves the class of anti-anxiety medication called benzodiazepines, and it is one of the clearest examples of something called Paradoxical Reaction. I am hoping that you can help me. Let me fill you in on my story.
First, my background is relevant because it demonstrates that the event that led to my being here was not part of a pattern of behavior. I have no violence in my past, no felonies. I was a software engineer, I’m college educated, and I’m from a normal, middle-class home. Everything that happened that night was completely atypical and out of character.
The event took place at Walmart, so it was all captured on surveillance videos. You can see me stumble around the store for twenty minutes, dropping items and running into displays. I was clearly disoriented. A police officer was called, and he confronted me, tackled me, and in the chaos of the moment I shot and killed him. The video shows how hectic the situation was, it clearly was not a thought out and intentional act. It took place in the span of 10 seconds.
Subsequent blood tests revealed that I had 11 times the therapeutic dose of Xanax in my system, and these tests were taken seven hours after the event. With a half life of eleven hours, it is reasonable to assume that the amount of Xanax in my blood that night was extraordinarily high. Plus, as I later discovered, Asians metabolize Benzos faster than other populations and it stays in their systems longer. I am of Asian descent.
In addition to all of this, I was interviewed by police immediately after the event, while I was still highly impaired from the medication. Again, this interview was captured on video, and one can clearly see that I am suffering from the classic symptoms of Benzodiazepines. I had amnesia, stating several times that I couldn’t even remember what day or time it was. I was confabulating, giving different accounts of what happened, none of which turned out to be accurate. And I was experiencing chemical submission, complying with the detectives leading questions against my best interest. All of these are common side-effects of the Benzodiazepine class of pharmaceuticals, which includes the date rape drug “roofies.”
This aspect of my case sets me apart from other similar cases, I believe. My confused statements provide a window into my state of mind at the time, while in many other incidents we can only wonder what is going on in their mind.
After all of this, while awaiting trial, the jailhouse doctors put me on a cocktail of antidepressants: Zoloft, Celexa, Remeron, etc. During this time, I had several suicide attempts and I spent most of the time in observation cells, nearly catatonic. It is my belief that this common, secondary use of pharmaceuticals to medicate inmates awaiting trial, renders them complacent and fairly useless when it comes to contributing to their defense. This results in inmates who are resigned to their fate, able to be easily railroaded by the legal system, regardless of the merits of their case. Since most people who are first entering jail are, understandably, depressed, they are all too willing to accept this ‘treatment’.
In my case, my trial team was handpicked by the judge, they agreed to work for a flat fee, and they put on a subpar defense at the last minute. The public opinion surrounding my case was continuously manipulated by statements released from the pharmaceutical company. In many news articles, the fact that I was even on Xanax at all is never mentioned. I’ve learned that this is a common tactic used by the pharma industry, who often deploy ‘crash teams’ to these types of events to try and shift the blame away from their drugs. I was convicted and sent to Texas Death Row, where I am today.
Years into my sentence, I was finally able to get off of the psychiatric medications. Then I began to research the history of pharmaceuticals and I became aware of their role in many cases of violence, such as mine. In fact, this is a well-documented symptom of Benzos that’s sometimes-called Paradoxical Reaction or Rage Reaction. It is also related to the phenomenon called Homicidal Somnambulism, or sleep-walking murder. Many other cases can be found in the medical literature, and these types of drugs have come up in the toxicology reports of several ‘mass shooters’, including the Las Vegas shooter and the Southerland Springs Church shooter. Over the past two decades, prescriptions for Benzos have skyrocketed and so has the number of overdoses, which has risen eightfold since 1999. This time period also coincides with the epidemic of mass shootings in our country. It is certain that the prison population over-represented by Benzo users who are unaware that this drug contributed to their situation. This is a major reason for my speaking out, to inform others about this possible influence on their crime.
Since my trial, my lawyers and I have accumulated a massive amount of research proving that this is not a one-off event, but is a well known phenomenon in the medical community that has been actively covered up by the pharmaceutical industry for decades. I have scientific articles, expert evaluations, and even an internal FDA study that highlights the extreme number of violent episodes associated with Benzodiazepines compared to other drugs. This FDA study was not released to the public and was only acquired through FOIA requests put out by lawyers.
Now, my goal is to use my story to help expose this issue. Books have been written about pharmaceutical-induced violence, but I really feel that my case is the clearest example of such an event. By reaching out to you with this letter, I am hoping to use your platform to help spread my story, to garner support from the activist community, and to make contacts with any lawyers, expert witnesses, or fundraising apparatuses that might be able to help. My friends and family have compiled information about my case on a website: supportbrandondaniel.org. I am asking that you please post about my site on your social media accounts and link it up to your website. Any other exposure or resources would be very much appreciated.
I really hope that you can help. Please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you, thank you for your consideration.
Brandon Daniel #999589
3872 FM 350 South Road
Livingston, TX 77351