Officer East’s widow offers thanks to law enforcement, condolences to killer’s family after Daniels’ life sentence
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After more than 20 hours of deliberation, a Lubbock County jury has sentenced 24-year-old Hollis Daniels III to life in prison without parole.
Daniels pleaded guilty to shooting and killing Texas Tech University Police Officer Floyd East Junior in October 2017.
The jury in the 137th District Court struggled with whether to sentence Daniels to death or life in prison without parole.
Lubbock attorney Mark Snodgrass wrapped his arm around Daniels as the judge read the sentence.
Daniels’ family cried tears of joy and hugged one another after learning the jury had spared Daniels’ life.
The East family stood quietly as Judge John “Trey” McClendon told Daniels he would spend the rest of his life in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice unit.
Following the sentencing, one of Officer East’s sisters took the stand to give a victim impact statement.
She looked Daniels in the eye and said, “This is to you. You have the privilege to be anything in life you choose to be, but you chose to be a cop killer. Not only did you choose to take our brother’s life, but Floyd was everybody’s brother here ...a kind, loving man, a man that treated you with respect, and in return you showed him no mercy, no mercy, and like the coward you are, you didn’t give him a chance to fight for his life. I pray that justice shows you the same, no mercy, and may you rot in Hell.”
Officer East’s widow, Carmen East, spoke with reporters following the sentencing.
She read this statement, “To the public in general, every action you take in anger and fear has a consequence. Please make your actions be peaceful and meaningful for your own peace of mind and your actions affect everyone. This and many other tragedies are an example of this. Guns are not the problem. Humanity, lack of respect for each other is to blame. To all students from Texas Tech and all universities who are considering suicide or who find themselves in a dark place, reach out to the services in your community and make it a true effort to heal and volunteer to all types of humanitarian services. Give yourself, and use your God-given gift to love, it will fil your soul. To all law enforcement officers here, in the United States, and around the world, thank you for your service. You see the worst of humanity every day. My heart goes out to you. It must be difficult to try to live a peaceful life for yourselves and your families and experience the hate that you receive from the public, that is why Floyd’s foundation, Texas 635, will always be here to assist officers with their mental wellness. Peace officers need to maintain a peaceful mindset. To the Lubbock and the El Paso community, from the entire family and I, we say thank you for five long years of your support and your love. To the Daniels’ family, my condolences. Nobody wins. we all grieve, we all go and we will try to go on and find some peace.”
In her closing argument, Lubbock County District Attorney Sunshine Stanek directly addressed jurors, pointed to Hollis Daniels and said one of the hardest things she has had to do is to ask the jury to “kill his man” because she believed he would be a danger to other inmates and officers when in prison.
We asked Stanek about this statement after sentencing.
“I stand by my statement,” Stanek said. “This office will always stand up for law enforcement and we will try case after case after case. We respect the jury’s verdict.”
This case included graphic evidence, like the body camera video that captured Officer East’s shooting. Stanek said her team had to view this video several times, because it is so difficult to watch.
“I have been doing this for almost 23 years now and we see the worst of the worst. That is a job I have taken on because I want to make this community a safer place,” Stanek said.
When asked if Daniels had anything to say to the victim’s family, he said, “Not at this time.”
“Obviously this case was a tragedy, regardless of the jury’s verdict of life in prison; there are no winners. The East family lost a fine man. We appreciate the jury’s diligent consideration of the evidence, over 21 hours of deliberation. We are pleased with the results and just appreciate their hard work,” Snodgrass said.
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