Man Gets 25 Years for Murder of BLM Protester

Prosecutors rejected Daniel Perry's self-defense claim
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Updated May 10, 2023 1:33 PM CDT
Abbott: I'll Pardon Man Who Murdered Protester
Daniel Perry enters the courtroom at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday May 10, 2023.   (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, Pool)
UPDATE May 10, 2023 1:33 PM CDT

A US Army sergeant has been sentenced to 25 years for killing a protester during a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin in July 2020. Daniel Perry, 36, was convicted last month of murdering Garrett Foster. Perry's lawyer says he plans to appeal and will cooperate with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's efforts to pardon him, the AP reports. Prosecutors, who had sought a 25-year sentence, rejected Perry's claim that he shot the armed protester in self-defense. They presented social media postings including one from May 2020 in which Perry said, "It is official I am a racist because I do not agree with people acting like animals at the zoo," CBS reports.

Apr 10, 2023 12:00 AM CDT

On Friday, a jury unanimously convicted a Texas man of murder in the fatal shooting of an armed protester at a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020. Less than a day later, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he will sign a pardon for that man "as soon as it hits my desk." Daniel Perry, a sergeant in the US Army, was working as an Uber driver when he ran a red light and drove into the protest in Austin; some protesters say he nearly ran them down. Garrett Foster, who was carrying an AK-47, approached Perry's car along with other protesters and Perry shot him five times through the window and then drove away, the Austin American-Statesman reports. Perry claims Foster pointed his rifle at him and Perry fired in self-defense, but as the Austin Chronicle reports, that claim was refuted during the trial by multiple witnesses who say Foster did not raise the gun's barrel.

Prosecutors also displayed text messages and social media posts from Perry endorsing violence against protesters. "I might have to kill a few people on my way to work, they are rioting outside my apartment complex," he said in one text. He also pondered the idea of claiming self-defense in such a scenario, which is what he ended up doing after killing Foster. And while the jury did not agree, many on the right came to Perry's defense and issued frantic calls for Abbott to pardon him if he was convicted. "Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand your ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or progressive district attorney," Abbott said on Twitter, adding that he has requested the Board of Pardons and Paroles to expedite a review of whether Foster should be granted a pardon. He expects a pardon to be recommended, and says he will sign. (More Texas stories.)

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