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Texas governor pardons ex-Army sergeant convicted of killing Black Lives Matter protester in 2020

Gov. Greg Abbott announced the pardon just minutes after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles issued its recommendation.
Daniel Perry enters the courtroom at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center, May 10, 2023, in Austin, Texas.
Posted at 4:34 PM, May 16, 2024

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a full pardon Thursday to a former U.S. Army sergeant convicted of murder for fatally shooting an armed demonstrator in 2020 during nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice.

Abbott announced the pardon of Daniel Perry just minutes after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles disclosed it had made a unanimous recommendation that Perry be pardoned and have his firearms rights restored. Perry was convicted in April 2023 and has been held in state prison on a 25-year sentence.

The Republican governor had previously ordered the board to review Perry’s case and said earlier that he would sign a pardon if recommended. The board, which is appointed by the governor, announced its unanimous recommendation in a message posted on the agency website and Abbott's pardon swiftly followed.

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Abbott’s demand for a review of Perry’s case followed pressure from former Fox News star Tucker Carlson, who on national television had urged the Republican governor to intervene after the sergeant was convicted. Perry was sentenced to 25 years in prison after prosecutors used his social media history and text messages to portray him as a racist who may commit violence again.

A jury in Austin had convicted Perry of murder in the death of 28-year-old Garrett Foster, an Air Force veteran who had been legally carrying an AK-47 while marching in a Black Lives Matter protest. Perry was working as a ride-share driver in July 2020, when he turned his car onto a street crowded with demonstrators and shot Foster before driving off.

Prosecutors argued at trial that Perry could have driven away without opening fire and witnesses testified that they never saw Foster raise his gun. The sergeant’s defense attorneys argued Foster, who is White, did raise the rifle and that Perry had no choice but to shoot. Perry, who is also White, did not take the witness stand and jurors deliberated for two days before finding him guilty.