A rideshare driver convicted of killing an armed protester in downtown Austin will wait another day to hear his sentence.
AUSTIN, Texas — Sgt. Daniel Perry, a rideshare driver convicted of killing an armed protester – Garrett Foster – in downtown Austin, will wait another day to hear his sentence.
After about six hours of testimony from family members and experts, Judge Clifford Brown said he will sentence Perry Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m.
“Once guilty is established, the judge can look at any number of factors to determine what he believes is the appropriate punishment for the particular crime,” said Charlie Baird, a former Travis County District Court judge.
Whitney Mitchell, Foster’s longtime partner, took the stand Tuesday. Even though she and Foster weren’t married yet, she considered him her husband. You have served as a constant presence in her life. When she lost her arms and legs to her sepsis, he was her assistant. She described what her life is like without him.
Foster would help her with daily tasks like washing her face, eating, and getting ready for bed.
“It’s hard to sleep in my bed because it’s not in it,” Mitchell said. “I have to learn to do all those things that Garrett has done for me for a decade, and it’s hard because I have to be comfortable being vulnerable.”
“While it may have been exciting and appeared to be like a play on emotions, it was probably more fitting to show the impact this particular crime had on the life of a specific individual,” said Baird.
The defense called forensic psychologist Greg Hupp as a witness. He believes that Sgt. Perry suffers from PTSD and has personality characteristics consistent with an autism spectrum disorder. The defense questioned Hupp about Perry’s anti-protester social media posts and messages.
“To be able to share different memes and different social comments, he doesn’t know if his friend who is African American or Latino or mixed race, they don’t see him; he sees his battlemate and his battlemates are sharing these rather crass and lacking jokes of foundation,” Hupp said.
“Because of his psychological situation and his PTSD, he may, in fact, be more likely to commit this type of crime again. And I think that’s probably what the state supported today,” said Baird .
The defense also brought in witnesses such as Ronald Wilson and Traveon Napper, who served in the military with Perry. Lawyers questioned Napper over Zoom as he is stationed in Germany. Both denied that Perry was a racist. Wilson said sharing these forms of media is a “stress relief mechanism” and a “coping mechanism,” easing some of the pressures the military faces on a daily basis. Wilson also said Perry helped him financially, loaning him thousands of dollars.
Perry’s mother Rachel Perry also testified.
“She cried a lot when that happened. Her intention was just to protect herself, not to go out and shoot someone,” Rachel said.
The defense is asking the court to consider a 10-year sentence, so there is hope for Perry to go home and be with his family, while the state is seeking at least a 25-year sentence.
With that, though, the defense also asked the court to consider sudden passion in this case, meaning she could get a minimum two-year sentence if the judge sees fit.
“The typical homicide offense ranges from five years in prison up to life imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. Two years in prison, up to 20 years in prison,” Baird said.
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