A Letter from Brandon Daniel – Death Row, Texas

letter from Brandon Daniel

Written by Rick Fisk

Father, Son, Brother, Musician, Software Developer, Founder, Executive Director, Wrongly Imprisoned, Paroled, Seeker of Redemption, Finder of Forgiveness. I found my faith in prison and my purpose. I want to help set the captives free, those on the inside and the outside.

August 28, 2020

This letter from death row 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
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South Road
Livingston, TX 77351

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  1. Prayers for everyone

    Everyone deserves the opportunity for redemption, because it is in our nature that everybody has the ability to transform. The pharm companies have to be held accountable . The lives ruined by pharmaceuticals. This is clearly tragic on all levels. this is a son and brother with a family. Jamie Padron was a son and brother and father. Its all too clear with today’s call for reform that there is so much lacking at the police level and courts–this entire event should have had a different outcome with It is clear on the web site video that the inmate was not in his right mind > It is worsened that the police and city awarded those that testified with hero medals and hero words that had different testimony at initial interviews and changed testimony at court. There was no hero that night–paid testimony with public awards. Lost father, lost son and truth lost. I pray for you Brandon and for Jamie. I guess my heart is bigger and my soul cleaner that I have room for both in my prayers without malice or blame.

    • Me

      Yes there were heroes that night. Disarming a gunman with your bare hands after he has committed murder right in front of you, is heroic. That’s why they were given awards, not because they testified in court. While I believe murder would not have been in Brandon’s future had it not been for xanax and a difficult period emotionally, let’s not twist the facts and accuse innocent bystanders of lying. And pharmaceuticals have caused problems for many, but they have also saved untold lives. Brandon chose to abuse Xanax. Nobody else made that decision for him. He’s the one who popped more than any therapeutic dose and he’s the one who drive under the influence to shoplift at a Walmart and then murder a police officer.

      • Rick Fisk

        But it wasn’t pre-meditated I think is the point here. He was responsible but it shouldn’t have been a DP case.

        • Justice

          Read the law. Pre meditation has nothing to do with it. He intentionally caused the death of a police officer. That’s all you need to know. Self intoxication is not a defense otherwise everyone would just go get high or drunk before committing crimes. If you want to use your life experience for a good cause, tell people not to ever try drugs because this is what could happen. Don’t try to convince everyone you are a victim. He got what he deserved and had an appropriate ending.

          • Rick Fisk

            There was no intent either in my opinion.

          • Me

            There was no intent? He thought he had shot the cop in the face because “that was the first target he saw”. What exactly did he intend to do when he tried to shoot a cop in the face if not kill him?

  2. Det. John Kimball

    The facts are:
    1. He purposely cocked the gun before going into the store to have it ready to fire immediately, something he admitted to never doing before.
    2. He knew it was a police officer he was shooting in the face, he had multiple seconds to make that decision. Again, something he admitted.
    3. In prison, the officer’s death being announced on the news over the public television brought applause from the inmates,
    to which Brandon took a proud bow.

    maybe none of these matter but they stand out to me. he’s like chris watts,
    a total fuck-up to the maximum degree who had many chances to not do what he did

  3. Take Ownership Of Your Sin

    I believe we all have an opportunity to redeem ourselves, however, first must come the ‘ownership’ of your own sin. Brandon made those choices, he is the only one that can right a wrong by owing his sin.
    In ‘the’ letter, Brandon argues that it is the pharmaceutical companies that try and ‘shift’ blame for what someone chooses to do.
    Hum, isn’t that what Brandon is doing?
    Instead of taking ownership of his sin, he tried to deflect it.
    Brandon made that choice, Brandon killed a person, Brandon did all of these things on his own accord.
    Instead of owning his sin, Brandon attempts to mitigate his ownership of the sin he committed and pass it off to others, exactly what he accuses others of doing!
    Can Brandon return the life he took? No, he cannot!
    Brandon STOLE something he cannot return, a life of a fellow human being, yet he wants to be ‘set free’ of the consequences.
    Adding to this, Brandon is the one that had the huge responsibility of owning a firearm. Brandon seemed to think that it was to be used in defense of his crimes, and stole items knowing he would shoot anyone that tried to stop him.


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