On Saturday, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas made good on his vow to commute the death sentence of a US Army sergeant convicted of killing a demonstrator at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
The Republican claimed that 35-year-old Sgt. Daniel Perry had acted in self-defense when he shot and killed 28-year-old Garrett Foster many times during the 2020 Austin protest.
“Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney,” Abbott said in a statement.
The governor has promised to rein in “rogue District Attorneys” after blaming the conviction on Friday on the county’s Democratic District Attorney José Garza, who is supported by George Soros. Abbot “absolutely supports” a Twitter user’s idea that Garza “deliberately misled the Grand Jury throughout the trial,” according to their exchange.
Abbott stated that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles be “expedited” in their examination of Perry’s case and pardon recommendation, a power he does not have under the state constitution. As soon as the Board’s pardon recommendation reaches his desk, he plans to sign it.
Perry has maintained in the almost three years since the killing that he shot Foster only after the demonstrator pointed an AK-47 into his car. When working as a rideshare driver on July 25, 2020, Perry, who was stationed at Fort Hood, 70 miles north of Austin, encountered the event and became upset when protesters began pounding his car.
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Perry’s attorneys contended that their client acted in self-defense when he fired his handgun at Foster, who was armed with an AK-47, a club, and a knife and was wearing a neoprene vest under his T-shirt.
Nevertheless, witnesses said that Foster never raised the weapon and was instead pushing his fiancée’s wheelchair (who was black and quadriplegic) when he was shot and murdered. Both Foster and Perry are Caucasian.
Prosecutors also brought earlier social media posts written by Perry, which demonstrated his strong anti-protest emotions; in some of these posts, the former Army sergeant suggested people could get away with shooting demonstrators in Texas. Perry, who faces a possible sentence of life in prison, sobbed as the verdict was read on Friday.
“I visited Daniel in jail this morning. As you might expect, he is devastated. He spoke to me about his fears that he will never get to hug his Mother again. He’s also crushed that this conviction will end his Army service; he loves being a Soldier,” his lawyer, Doug O’Connell, said.
“Our entire team is physically & mentally exhausted after the last two weeks of trial. The battle is not over – we will continue to fight for Daniel.”
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