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Gov. Abbott calls for pardon of Army sergeant convicted in protester's death in Texas
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A U.S. Army sergeant who fatally shot a protester in 2020 at an Austin demonstration against police brutality and racial injustice was convicted Friday of murder.

A Travis County jury found Daniel Perry, 35, guilty in the death of Garrett Foster, 28.

Police said Perry, based at the time 70 miles north at Fort Hood, was driving in downtown Austin on the evening of July 25, 2020, when he encountered demonstrators in the street and came to a stop.

Foster was legally carrying a semiautomatic rifle when he approached the intersection where protesters had gathered, police said, and was fatally shot by Perry, who stayed in the vehicle and used a handgun.

Perry claimed to police that Foster, a U.S. Air Force veteran, had pointed the weapon at him, inspiring him to shoot in self-defense, officials said after the violence. Foster was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The day of Perry's arrest more than a year later, after a county grand jury returned a murder indictment against him, Perry was freed on $300,000 surety bond, Travis County District Attorney José Garza Garza said at the time.

Perry’s stint in the Army will end as a result of the conviction, his attorney, Clint Brode, said by text.

“Daniel was most crushed that his conviction will end his Army service,” the lawyer said. “He loved being a soldier for our country.”

He had remained on active duty during his prosecution, and he had been reassigned to duty at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, according to the publication Stars and Stripes.

Although sentencing for Perry, who faces up to life in prison, was expected to be held in the coming days, Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday may have upended the process by announcing his desire to see Perry granted a state pardon.

"I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry," the governor said in a tweet.

Abbott suggested the sergeant should have been exempted from prosecution and Friday's verdict under the state's "stand your ground" law, which allows Texans to open fire when people or property are threatened with serious violence, kidnapping, or robbery. The law considers home and vehicle primary spaces for such a defense.

Abbott said he'd requested the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles approve a pardon, which is required before the governor may grant one.

Among considerations for the board is "evidence of actual innocence," according to state law, and whether two of three trial officials endorse a pardon. Those include the judge, district attorney, sheriff, and police chief in the county where conviction took place.

Asked if he had a response to the governor's announcement, attorney Brode said the defense was "completely focused" on preparing for sentencing.

Perry, who was led away in handcuffs after the verdict was read on Friday, planned to appeal, the lawyer said.

“We are disappointed in the verdict both as it relates to Daniel Perry and as it relates to a citizen’s ability to defend themselves,” Brode said by text Friday. “We are hopeful that the case will ultimately be overturned.”

Foster had been at the demonstration in Austin with his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, his mother, Sheila Foster, told "Good Morning America" a few days after his death.

The couple, dating since they were 17, were fixtures at protests against police abuse that spring and summer, she said.

The May 25, 2020, killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis officer who knelt on his neck for 9½ minutes sparked protests across the nation.

Members of the jury and relatives of both the victim and the defendant all reacted emotionally to the decision Friday.

"There's no winners in this," Garrett Foster's father, Steve Foster, said outside the courtroom Friday. "Just glad it's over."

Good Governor
Posted by Cracker lawson at 4/9/2023 7:12:12 PM

Good job Governor
Posted by Cracker lawson at 4/19/2023 10:11:29 PM

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