Perry was convicted in April of the shooting of 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was legally carrying an AK-47 rifle in downtown Austin.
AUSTIN, Texas – A US Army sergeant convicted of murder in the shooting of an armed protester at a Black Lives Matter march in Texas faces life in prison when his sentencing hearing begins Tuesday, even as Gov. Greg Abbott insists he has the chance to forgive the soldier.
Daniel Perry’s sentence is expected to last up to two days. State District Judge Clifford Brown, who presided over Perry’s trial, denied his request for a new trial last week.
Perry was convicted in April of the shooting of 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who legally carried an AK-47 rifle in downtown Austin during a summer of nationwide unrest over police killings and racial injustice.
The verdict sparked outrage from prominent conservatives, including former Fox News star Tucker Carlson, who called the shooting an act of self-defense and lambasted Abbott on the air after he didn’t come to his show.
Abbott, a former judge who hasn’t ruled out a 2024 presidential race, tweeted the next day that “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws” and that he couldn’t wait to sign a pardon after a recommendation of Texas Board of thanks and words hits his desk.
The board has already begun what legal experts say is an immediate and highly unusual review of the case on orders from Abbott, who appointed the panel.
The governor has not said publicly how he arrived at his conclusion. It’s unclear when the parole board will make a decision on Perry’s case.
Perry served in the military for more than a decade and was stationed at Fort Hood, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north of Austin. He was working as a shared car driver the night of the shootings and had just dropped off a customer when he turned into a street full of protesters.
Perry said he was trying to get past the crowd blocking the street when Foster pulled a shotgun at him. Perry said he shot Foster in self-defense. Witnesses testified that they did not see Foster raise his gun and prosecutors argued that Perry could have escaped without shooting.
After the trial, the court unveiled dozens of pages of text messages and social media posts showing Perry hostile views towards the Black Lives Matter protests. In a Facebook comment a month before the shooting, Perry reportedly wrote, “It’s official I’m a racist because I don’t agree with people acting like animals at the zoo.”