US Army sergeant sentenced to 25 years for protestor’s murder
Daniel Perry walks into the courtroom moments before he was convicted of murder in the July 2020 shooting death of Garrett Foster at a Black Lives Matter protest, at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center in Austin, Texas, U.S. April 7, 2023. Jay Janner/USA Today Network via REUTERS
(Reuters) -A U.S. Army sergeant was sentenced to 25 years in a Texas prison on Wednesday for killing a man at a protest against police brutality in 2020, setting the stage for Governor Greg Abbott to make good on a pledge to grant a pardon.
Daniel Perry was found guilty last month of shooting to death 28-year-old Garrett Foster, a U.S. Air Force veteran, at a Black Lives Matter rally in Austin, Texas. The demonstration came months after the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis.
Perry said he was acting in self defense when he shot Foster. His defense team said he had no choice but to fire his handgun when Foster pointed a legally owned AK-47 at Perry, the Texas Tribune reported.
After Perry's conviction, Republican Greg Abbott said he would seek a pardon for him. He said the state's "stand your ground" law justified Perry's actions and could not be "nullified by a jury or progressive district attorney," Abbott said at the time.
Prosecutors had asked for a sentence of 25 years, while the defense had sought 10 years, CNN reported. The sentence was handed down by State District Court Judge Clifford Brown.
Perry's defense lawyers said they were disappointed with the sentence, but would focus to appealing the case and cooperating with the state's pardon process.
"As part of the appeal we will be able to focus on the evidence that was kept from both the grand jury and trial jury," including alleged harassment by Foster, attorney Clinton Broden said in a statement.
Jose Garza, the district attorney for Travis County, where the case was tried and where Austin is located, is a Democrat.
The shooting came moments after Perry, who was driving for Uber, happened upon a group of protesters, including Foster, marching downtown. Foster and several others approached Perry's vehicle after it stopped. Protesters told police that they feared they were being assaulted with the vehicle, according to media accounts.
(Reporting by Tyler Clifford; Editing by Sandra Maler)