Hollis Daniels still awaiting trial two years after the murder of Texas Tech police officer Floyd East Jr.

Former Texas Tech student Hollis Daniels III has remained in law enforcement custody for two years for his alleged role in the shooting death of Tech Police Department Officer Floyd East Jr. on Oct. 9, 2017. Carmen East, the wife of the late officer, filed a civil lawsuit on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, during the last days in the statute of limitations for her to file a lawsuit.

Carmen East filed a civil lawsuit against Daniels on Friday Oct. 4, 2019 for over $1 million. The filing of the lawsuit just shy of the two-year anniversary was just within the two-year statute of limitations in the state of Texas for civil lawsuits.

Floyd East Jr.
Carmen East’s lawsuit claims she is entitled to recover wrongful death and survival damages as against defendant for his actions. She also claims she is entitled to recover and seeks loss of society; loss of advice and council; loss of companionship; loss of services; funeral expenses; mental anguish; exemplary damages; counseling bills and survival damages for the pain and mental anguish suffered by Floyd East, Jr., all of this is listed in article six of the civil lawsuit.

Since the release of the civil lawsuit, a gag order has been put into place preventing anyone involved with the case from discussing it with the media or the public.

“If there’s a gag order on it, then there is not anything that we would be able to share at this point,” Michelle Moore, the Executive Assistant to the District Attorney, said.

Individuals from law offices including Boerner, Dennis & Franklin; Payne, Powell & Truitt; and Kerby & Wade declined to comment on the case and general timeline questions. The Lubbock District Attorney and Jeffrey Haag, the lead attorney in the indictment for a stolen weapon, were both unavailable to comment.

On Oct. 9, 2017, the Tech campus was placed on lockdown beginning at 8:23 p.m. At 8:51 p.m., a follow-up message was sent stating the situation was ongoing and advised those on campus to stay on lockdown, followed by another update at 9:20 p.m. stating the subject shot an officer and fled on foot. The all-clear message came an hour and 11 minutes after the original TechAlert at 9:34 p.m.

Daniels, at the time a 19-year-old living in suite 134C at Talkington Hall, was taken into custody after allegedly being in possession of a controlled substance, according to Lubbock Police documents from Oct. 9, 2017. Tech PD transported Daniels back to the Tech Police Department where Officer East was completing booking paperwork for Daniels’ arrest for a controlled substance.

“(Corporal Tyler Snelson) advised Officer East was completing paperwork at the computers in the briefing room,” according to Lubbock Police documents from Oct. 9, 2017. “Officer East was facing the computers while Hollis Daniels was facing in the opposite direction. … were slightly offset from each other. At the time Hollis Daniels was not wearing handcuffs.”

Corporal Snelson then left the briefing room and went to an office nearby, according to Lubbock Police documents from Oct. 9, 2017. Shortly after, he heard a bang from the briefing room. He went back and found Officer East with an apparent gunshot wound and Daniels no longer in the room.

“Officer East’s police body camera was missing and Officer East’s pistol was in his holster,” according to Lubbock Police documents from Oct. 9, 2017. “Hollis Daniels was located near 2720 Drive of Champions, City Bank Coliseum, where he was subsequently taken into custody.”

When Daniels was taken into custody, a loaded .45 caliber pistol was found near his person in a box with other refuse, according to Lubbock Police documents from Oct. 9, 2017. Daniels stated to officers that he was the one that shot their friend, that he “f***ed up,” then stated that he did “something illogical”.

Immediately on Oct. 9, 2017, an arrest warrant was filed for Daniels for intentionally or knowingly causing the death of Floyd East Jr. by shooting him, according to the arrest warrant. Daniels’ original bond was set for $5 million on a felony charge of capital murder of a police officer/firefighter.

In the following days, The Grand Jury of the United States of America charged Daniels with one count of Possession of a Stolen Firearm, according to court documents from 2017. The firearm was later found to be a Springfield Model XD45, a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

With over two years since the filing of federal charges, the right to a speedy trial may be an important aspect in Daniels’ case.

“That’s not unusual,” Patrick Metze, a professor of law and Director of Criminal Clinics, said. “You have to assert your speedy trial right. You have to say ‘hey, I’ve got a right. I want a trial right now.’”

There are several requirements to exercise the courts review a speedy trial violation under, Metze said. One of those things they look at is whether or not one has been asking for a trial.

 If there is one place Daniels can get a speedy trial, it is federal courts, Metze said.

After changing lawyers’ multiple times, Daniels still has not been tried.

“When you change horses, it takes a while to get the horse running again,” Metze said. “If he changes lawyers that’ll slow it up.”

Tactically there are some reasons why one does not want to get in a hurry most times, Metze said. Time generally works in the defendant’s favor. The whole reason for a speedy trial is based in the way people were treated in the 18th century.

“(Carmen East’s) civil case will run independently of the criminal case,” Metze said. “It’ll have a different court, it’ll have a different schedule, what’ll happen will happen at different times, they will run totally independent of each other.”

They should not have any effect on each other, Metze said.

“There are ways that he can assert his right to a speedy trial on that capital murder,” Metze said. “He has not done so. Doesn’t mean he’s waved it but it means that I don’t see anything to indicate that he is beating the drum to go to court.”