A U.S. Army sergeant was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday for fatally shooting a Black Lives Matter protester in Texas in 2020, despite calls from the state’s Republican governor Greg Abbot to pardon him.
In early April, a jury found 36-year-old Daniel Perry guilty of murdering Garrett Foster during the protest in downtown Austin in 2020.
“After three long years, we’re finally getting justice for Garrett,” his mother, Sheila Foster, told the court, according to the Associated Press. “Mr. Perry, I pray to God that one day, he will get rid of all this hate that is in your heart,” she said.
The incident occurred in downtown Austin on July 25, 2020, when Perry, a white man, shot and killed Foster, an Air Force veteran. Foster, who was also white, was legally carrying an AK-47 rifle as he took part in a protest against police killings and racial injustice after the death George Floyd, a Black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer.
Perry claimed self-defense, telling police that Foster aimed the barrel at him before he shot him with a handgun.
However, according to The Daily Beast, court documents indicated that Perry fantasized about killing Black Lives Matter demonstrators and characterized himself as a proud racist in private letters and social media posts. Travis County District Attorney José Garza regarded Abbott’s involvement in the case at the time of Perry’s conviction as “deeply troubling.”
After the sentence, Perry’s attorney, Clinton Broden, said that his client would appeal. He called the conviction the product of “political prosecution.”
In response to Perry’s conviction, prominent conservatives expressed outrage, and Governor Abbott announced he would sign a pardon once he receives a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles hits his desk.
Judge Clifford Brown did not directly address the potential pardon during sentencing. However, he insisted that Perry was given a “fair and impartial trial” and that the jury’s decision “deserves our honor and it deserves to be respected.”