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Judge rejects new trial for Army sergeant convicted of killing Black Lives Matter protester

A gavel cracks down. (Airman 1st Class Aspen Reid/U.S. Air Force)

A Texas judge has rejected a motion requesting a new murder trial for Daniel Perry, a U.S. Army sergeant who Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to pardon after he was jailed for killing a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020.

During the same hearing on Wednesday, Judge Clifford Brown set Perry’s sentencing date for May 9. The Army man faces up to life in prison for gunning down 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was legally carrying an AK-47 rifle amid BLM demonstrations in downtown Austin.

In arguing for a new trial, Perry’s lawyer claimed jurors behaved inappropriately during the legal proceedings, including deliberations. The jury unanimously voted to convict Perry on April 7, though their decision was met with backlash from critics who argued he’d been acting in self-defense at the time.

Following the verdict, Abbott said he wanted to pardon Perry and that he requested the state Board of Pardons and Paroles expedite a review of the case. Per Texas law, the governor can only order Perry’s release with the board’s approval.

“I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry,” the Republican governor said in a tweet after the conviction. “Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney.”

The fatal shooting came amid protests sparked by police violence and cases of racial injustice around the nation, including the death of George Floyd, who was killed during an altercation with Minneapolis officers in May 2020.

The confrontation between Foster and Perry unfolded just months later on July 25, after the latter drove his vehicle onto a street packed with protesters. Foster was fatally shot as he approached the vehicle.

Perry served in the military for more than a decade and was stationed at Fort Hood, about 70 miles north of Austin. He was working as a ride-share driver the night of the shooting and had just dropped off a customer in the moments before the deadly violence.


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