LUBBOCK, Texas — Family and friends of Hollis Daniels took the stand for the first time in the hearing. His defense gave the jury a different picture of the man who admitted to the shooting death of Texas Tech officer Floyd East.

Cousins of his mom and dad shared warm smiles with Daniels as they entered and exited the courtroom. They described to the jury the extensive list of mental health issues the family has struggled with for generations. Those issues ranging from substance abuse, suicides and overdoses. 

Both family members testified that mental health was something that the family didn’t talk about often as it was considered a weakness. “Just move on, tomorrow is another day, life is hard. No one talked about weaknesses,” said a cousin of Daniels’ Dad when asked what the family would say and react to mental health struggles. 

The Daniels family operated a theater in their small town of Seguin and invited an employee named AC to live with them. During that time, AC was considered a close caregiver to Daniels. But his childhood friends would later testify that Daniels had a change in personality after AC died in a tragic accident the summer of 2017, saying that Daniels no longer wanted to return to Texas Tech for his sophomore year.

The state would later ask about his home life; his family emphasized that despite the mental health struggles, Daniels had wonderful parents who were always present, and would do everything in their power to help them if they knew about his struggles. 

One of his former middle school teachers also took the stand, describing to the jury how quiet Daniels was in class. She said he was a lazy kid, and knew he was capable of doing most of the work but never applied himself. 

All his friends and family, telling the jury how out of character they thought the shooting was. They all say they were shocked when they heard the news as it didn’t seem like something he could ever do.

The hearing is expected to continue into next week and then it will be up to the jury to decide whether he gets life in prison or the death sentence.