Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says he’s working to ‘swiftly’ pardon Fort Hood soldier convicted of murder
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he wants to pardon a US Army sergeant convicted of murder in the 2020 shooting of an armed protester during nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
Abbott tweeted that because the state constitution limits him to pardons only upon the recommendation of the state board of pardons and paroles, he is asking the board to recommend a pardon and expedite his request to have Sgt. Daniel Perry.
“I look forward to approving the board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it reaches my desk,” Abbott wrote.
Perry was convicted Friday by a Travis County jury of fatally shooting 28-year-old Garrett Foster during a protest in Austin. He faces life in prison if convicted.
“Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be overturned by a jury or progressive prosecutor,” Abbott said.
Sgt. Daniel Perry, center, and his attorney Doug O’Connell walk out of the courtroom during jury deliberations in his Frida murder trial. Perry was convicted of murder on Friday for fatally shooting Garrett Foster, an armed protester in 2020, during nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has said he wants to pardon a US Army sergeant convicted of murder in the fatal 2020 shooting of an armed protester during nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has instructed the Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend a pardon and expedite his request
Sgt. Daniel Perry responds after being convicted of murder in the murder of Garrett Foster on Friday
Sgt. Daniel Perry closes his eyes and bows his head just before sentencing
Sgt. Daniel Perry is comforted by his attorney Doug O’Connell after being convicted of murder in the murder of Garrett Foster
Perry killed Garrett Foster, 28, who is pictured with his wife Whitney Mitchell
Garrett Foster is seen at the driver’s window. The barrel of the gun is pointed towards the ground, while his right arm is high and his hand is seemingly placed on the grip of the weapon
Daniel Perry, a 37-year-old Uber driver and Army sergeant, was found guilty of murder
Perry’s lawyers argued that the shooting was self-defense as Foster approached Perry’s car with an AK-47 rifle.
Prosecutors said Perry could have driven off before firing his revolver and witnesses testified that Foster never pointed his gun at Perry.
The jury deliberated for 17 hours over two days to reach a decision, after an eight-day trial. He sobbed as the guilty verdict was read and hugged his lawyer. Perry faces life in prison.
Perry, who was charged in 2021, was stationed at Ft. Hood about 70 miles north of Austin in July 2020, when he was working as an Uber driver, and turned down a street straight into a large crowd of BLM protesters in downtown Austin.
In video streaming live on Facebook, a car can be heard honking its horn before several shots ring out and protesters begin to scream and disperse.
Garrett Foster and his girlfriend, Whitney Mitchell, can be seen at the July 2020 protest
Garrett Foster was caught on camera earlier tonight explaining why he needed an AK-47
First responders were seen preparing to transport Foster to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead in a July 25, 2020 photo
Witnesses said at the trial that Foster never raised his gun at Perry.
On Friday, a jury found Perry guilty of murder but not guilty of aggravated assault.
Perry’s lawyers insisted in their closing arguments that he had no choice but to shoot Foster five times as he approached Perry’s car with an AK-47 rifle.
Prosecutors said Perry had plenty of choices, including driving away before firing his revolver.
Guillermo Gonzalez, prosecutor, said Perry’s social media posts showed his strong opposition to protesters.
Perry also said you could get away in Texas by shooting them.
“This is an age-old story about a man who couldn’t control his anger,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not about police, and it’s not about protesters.”
Foster was crossing 4th Street on Congress Avenue with Mitchell and hundreds of other protesters when a motorist rushed into the crowd and honked his horn. Mobile phone footage captured the moment the fatal shots rang out
The scene of Foster’s shooting in Austin, Texas on July 25, 2020
Gonzalez said Perry angrily rode into the crowd, even though he could clearly see the protesters marching from three different angles.
The state argued that Perry sped into the crowd, but that was disputed by the expert defense witnesses who used science and data to track the speed of his car. The expert testified that he slowed down when his car entered the demonstration.
Doug O’Connell, who defended Perry, said prosecutors wanted the jury to “believe (Perry) had this evil plan when he turned right.”
“The protesters knew nothing about Perry when they attacked and boxed in the car,” he said.
“And Daniel had no choice, and that could have happened to anyone.”
Activists are pictured on July 26, 2020 holding a vigil for Foster, the day after he was killed
People sit on the street during a vigil for Garrett Foster on July 26, 2020 in downtown Austin, Texas
O’Connell argued that during the protest, Foster was dressed for battle, including wearing a neoprene vest under his T-shirt and carrying an AK-47, bat and knife.
Perry was wearing a T-shirt, shorts and flip flops.
“Garrett Foster is dressed for war,” O’Connell said. “Daniel Perry is dressed for the beach.”
When Foster was killed, protesters in Austin and beyond marched through the streets for weeks following the police killing of George Floyd.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to the black man’s neck for more than nine minutes. Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd’s murder was caught on video by a bystander and sparked global protests as part of a wider reckoning over racial injustice.