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Texas pardons US Army Sergeant Daniel Perry who was convicted of murder for shooting an AK-47-wielding BLM protester during the 2020 riots.

A Texas man convicted of shooting a Black Lives Matter protester during the 2020 riots has been pardoned.

Daniel Perry, a former US Army sergeant, was convicted last year of killing protester Garrett Foster in Austin in July 2020. Perry was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked the state parole board to investigate his case to discuss a possible pardon days later – leading to an announced unanimous vote of approval THURSDAY.

In a statement after the vote was announced, Abbott cited Texas’ “Stand Your Ground” laws, which allow people to use deadly force if they feel they are in imminent danger.

“Texas has one of the strictest ‘Stand Your Ground’ self-defense laws that cannot be overturned by a jury or a progressive district attorney,” Abbott said.

“I thank the Commission for its thorough investigation and agree with its recommendation for clemency.”

Daniel Perry, a US Army sergeant, was convicted in April 2023 of the murder of protester Garrett Foster in Austin and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Daniel Perry, a US Army sergeant, was convicted in April 2023 of the murder of protester Garrett Foster in Austin and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Perry killed Garrett Foster, 28, during BLM protests in 2020. Pictured: Foster with his fiancee Whitney Mitchell

Perry killed Garrett Foster, 28, during BLM protests in 2020. Pictured: Foster with his fiancee Whitney Mitchell

Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked the parole board to review Perry's case to discuss a possible pardon just days after his conviction, leading to a unanimous vote of approval announced THURSDAY.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked the parole board to review Perry’s case to discuss a possible pardon just days after his conviction, leading to a unanimous vote of approval announced THURSDAY.

In its unanimous decision recommending Perry’s pardon, the parole board said it had “dived into the intricacies” of his case.

“Investigative efforts included a meticulous review of relevant documents, from police reports to court records, witness statements and interviews with individuals connected to the case,” the commission said.

Along with the full pardon, Perry will also have his gun rights restored, the commission announced.

At his trial, Perry faced up to 99 years in prison after prosecutors described him as an unhinged racist soldier who planned to kill rioters, including recounting text messages in which he told a friend that he ” could go to Dallas to shoot looters.”

He countered that he acted in self-defense and feared he would be shot by Foster, who was legally carrying an AK-47 at the time he was shot.

The case became a landmark issue after Abbott sought Perry’s pardon, with critics saying the move set a “dangerous” precedent and was motivated by “political gamesmanship.”

In February, Foster’s mother, Shiela Foster, spoke out against the pardon request and said it was another painful moment following her son’s murder.

“I’m actually baffled, I just can’t believe this is my life and this is what’s happening, and it’s overwhelmed me with anxiety and the ability to move on ” she told CBS Austin.

Sgt.  Daniel Perry was stationed at Fort Hood at the time of the shooting and drove Uber at night to earn extra money.

Sgt. Daniel Perry was stationed at Fort Hood at the time of the shooting and drove Uber at night to earn extra money.

Garrett Foster is seen in the driver's window of Perry's car during his murder in July 2020

Garrett Foster is seen in the driver’s window of Perry’s car during his murder in July 2020

Activists are pictured on July 26, 2020, holding a vigil for Foster, the day after his death.

Activists are pictured on July 26, 2020, holding a vigil for Foster, the day after his death.

The day Foster was murdered, Perry had driven 70 miles from Fort Worth to Austin and was driving for Uber to earn extra money while stationed at the Fort Hood Army base.

Moments before the shooting, Perry had just dropped off a rideshare customer and turned onto a street filled with protesters.

Perry claimed he tried to move peacefully through the crowd but was blocked, before Foster pointed his AK-47 at him, he said.

The state argued that Perry drove into the crowd, but that was disputed by the defense’s expert witnesses who used data to track the speed of his car. The expert said Perry was slowing down when his car entered the protest.

Witnesses said they did not see Foster raise his gun, and in a video of the incident broadcast live on Facebook, a car could be heard honking before several shots rang out and protesters shouted and ran to safety.

During his trial, jurors were presented with a litany of texts and social media posts showing Perry’s contempt for the BLM protests that gripped the country following the killing of George Floyd.

This included a Facebook message to a friend in May 2020, just weeks before he shot Foster, in which he said he “maybe should kill a few people.”

Other posts included “white power” memes and a 2019 text in which he said it was “too bad we can’t get paid to kick out Muslims in Europe.”

“It’s official, I’m racist because I don’t agree with people acting like animals at the zoo,” he said in another post. “I was on the side of the protesters until they started the looting and violence.”

He added another message from the same day. he said the Black Lives Matter protests were like a “zoo full of monkeys freaking out and throwing their shit away.”

Perry’s lawyers said the messages were “barracks humor,” and several Army colleagues testified that Perry was not a known racist.

Documents showing Perry's racist text messages and social media posts were displayed on screen during Perry's sentencing.

Documents showing Perry’s racist text messages and social media posts were displayed on screen during Perry’s sentencing.

Prosecutors portrayed Perry as an unhinged, racist Army soldier, even though he claimed he acted in self-defense.

Prosecutors portrayed Perry as an unhinged, racist Army soldier, even though he claimed he acted in self-defense.

Whitney Mitchell, Garrett Foster's fiancee, pictured testifying at Perry's sentencing hearing.  She is a quadruple amputee and Foster was her caregiver for 11 years.  “It’s hard every day I’m here.  It's hard to sleep in my bed because he's not there

Whitney Mitchell, Garrett Foster’s fiancee, pictured testifying at Perry’s sentencing hearing. She is a quadruple amputee and Foster was her caregiver for 11 years. “It’s hard every day I’m here. It’s hard to sleep in my bed because he’s not there,” she said.

When he was shot, Foster was caring full-time for his fiancée Whitney Mitchell, a quadruple amputee.

Mitchell testified against Perry at his trial, tearfully telling jurors how his life had changed since his death – citing how Foster had been his sole caretaker for the past 11 years.

“It’s hard every day I’m here. It’s hard to sleep in my bed because he’s not here,” she said.

“He was my primary caregiver for 11 years and I had friends who took care of me and had to learn to do everything Garrett did.”

“It’s hard because I had to feel comfortable being vulnerable.”

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