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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Perry’s stint in the Army will end as a result of the conviction, his attorney, Clint Brode, said by text.
was most crushed that his conviction will end his Army service,” the
lawyer said. “He loved being a soldier for our country.”
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.
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
"I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry," the governor said in a tweet.
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.
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.
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
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."