Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Army Sgt. Daniel Perry, who Friday was found guilty of murdering a Black Lives Matter activist in 2020, is unlikely to spend much time in prison.
Just one day after Perry’s trial ended, and with Perry still awaiting sentencing, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Twitter that he was “working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry.”
“Texas has one of the strongest ‘Stand your ground’ laws of self-defense that cannot be nullified by a jury or progressive district attorney,” Abbott said. “Additionally, I have already prioritized reining in rogue District Attorneys, and the Texas Legislature is working on laws to achieve that goal.”
I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry. pic.twitter.com/HydwdzneMU
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 8, 2023
The district attorney to whom Abbott was referring was José Garza of Travis County, whose staff oversaw the prosecution.
All parties agreed that Perry shot and killed 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was carrying an AK-47 during a BLM demonstration. It is legal to carry such a weapon openly in Texas.
However, the crux of the case was whether or not Perry had a legitimate reason to fear for his life.
Perry, who was driving for Uber on the night when the shooting occurred, said that Foster was among a large group of activists who were illegally blocking an intersection and surrounded Perry’s car.
The defense alleged Foster leveled his weapon at Perry who, in fear for his life, fired a handgun he carried in his vehicle for personal protection.
“When Garrett Foster pointed his AK-47 at Daniel Perry, Daniel had two-tenths of a second to defend himself. He chose to live,” Fox News quoted Doug O’Connell, an attorney for Perry, as saying. “It may be legal in Texas to carry an assault rifle in downtown Austin. It doesn’t make it a good idea. If you point a firearm at someone, you’re responsible for everything that happens next.”
Witnesses for the prosecution testified that Foster did not point his weapon at Perry. Additionally, the prosecution argued that Perry instigated the event by driving through a red light and into a crowd of BLM protestors who were legally marching.
Perhaps the most damaging evidence presented by the prosecution were social media posts in which Perry expressed disdain for the BLM protesters who engaged in rioting. In one Facebook post, he wrote he might “kill a few people on my way to work. They are rioting outside my apartment complex.”
“This was clearly premeditated,” The Austin American-Statesman quoted Ryan Foster, Garrett’s brother, as saying. “[Perry] thought a lot about it and planned on doing it…He wanted to kill a protester and saw somebody exercising their second amendment right.”
Garza has not discussed the verdict in much detail, other than to praise his staff for having achieved a victory in court. He did respond to rather strong criticism from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Speaking to Fox News Digital, Paxton said, “Self-defense is a God-given right, not a crime. Unfortunately, the Soros-backed DA in Travis County cares more about the radical agenda of dangerous Antifa and BLM mobs than justice.”
Paxton added, “This week has shown us how rogue prosecutors have weaponized the judicial system. They must be stopped!”
Garza responded, “The Texas Attorney General is currently under felony indictment and under a federal criminal investigation. He should focus on his own legal troubles instead of attempting to interfere with the work of a Travis County jury.”
Abbott has the legal authority to intercede on Perry’s behalf with or without the blessing of Travis County, but there is a catch. He must first get a recommendation for clemency from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
The likelihood of this occurring is quite high as all members of the board are appointed by the Texas governor.
“I have made that request and instructed the board to expedite its review,” Abbott said. “I look forward to approving the board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.”
Perry faces a possible life sentence for his conviction. Even if pardoned by Abbott, Perry would still be classified as a convicted felon, meaning his career in the Army will in all likelihood be over.
A governmental pardon is not an expungement of past criminal convictions, only a governor or president’s method of preventing further punishment.