Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pardons Daniel Perry, Army sergeant convicted of murdering protester in 2020

May 16, 2024
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a pardon on Thursday for the Army sergeant convicted of murder last year in the fatal shooting of a protester in downtown Austin in July 2020.Daniel Perry was found guilty in the murder of Garrett Foster by a Travis County jury last year and sentenced to 25 years in prison. But at the same time, Abbott made clear that he would like to pardon Perry and asked the Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider Perry’s case.

The board offered a unanimous recommendation on Thursday to pardon Perry, and Abbott signed the declaration soon after.

Travis County District Attorney José Garza condemned the pardon, saying the board and Abbott have “made a mockery of our legal system.”

“Their actions are contrary to the law and demonstrate that there are two classes of people in this state where some lives matter and some lives do not,” Garza said Thursday in a statement. “They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner, and to our community that his life does not matter.”

He added that it also sent a message to community members who gave up their time to be on the grand jury and trial jury that their service “does not matter.”

Perry encountered a group of protesters in downtown Austin on July 25, 2020, roughly 70 miles from where he was based in Fort Hood, police said. The group were demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who was murdered weeks prior by a Minnesota police officer.

Foster was taking part in the protest and was legally carrying a semi-automatic rifle at the time when he approached the intersection where Perry was in his car. Perry then shot Foster from the vehicle with a handgun.

Police said Perry told them that Foster, an Air Force veteran, had pointed the rifle at him and he acted in self-defense. Abbott argued that Perry should have been exempt from prosecution under Texas’ “Stand Your Ground” law.

Prosecutors used prior social media posts and text messages from Perry to portray him as a racist at trial, and that he could have simply driven away without firing his weapon. Witnesses also testified that they never saw Foster raise his firearm at Perry.

Perry was convicted of murder, but acquitted of a second charge, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The governor’s pardon Thursday will restore Perry’s rights as if he was never convicted, including the right to own firearms.





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