Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he is seeking to pardon the U.S. Army sergeant who was convicted of shooting dead a man wielding a gun at him during a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020.
Abbott announced on April 8 that he will pardon Sgt. Daniel Perry, 37, who was working for Uber in Austin at the time, as soon as a request from the state’s parole board “hits my desk.”
“I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry,” Abbott wrote on Twitter.
Abbott explained in his tweet that the state constitution limits the governor’s pardon authority only on a recommendation by the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles.
“I have made that request and instructed the Board to expedite its review,” Abbott added. “I look forward to approving the Board’s pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk.”
Perry was driving in Austin the night of the shooting when he was surrounded by protesters, including 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was carrying an AK-47. According to Perry’s defense lawyers, their client acted in self-defense and fired at Foster after the latter began to raise the rifle toward Perry.
However, several witnesses testified that Foster never raised his weapon, and prosecutors argued that Perry had other options including driving away.
Perry, who was indicted in July 2021, was convicted of murder on April 7 by a Travis County jury for shooting and killing Foster. He will be sentenced on April 11, facing the possibility of life behind bars.
Doug O’Connell, a lawyer representing Perry, said he visited Perry in jail on Saturday morning.
“As you might expect, he is devastated. He spoke to me about his fears that he will never get to hug his Mother again,” O’Connell wrote on Twitter. “He’s also crushed that this conviction will end his Army service; he loves being a Soldier.“
O’Connell added, “Our entire team is physically & mentally exhausted after the last two weeks of trial. The battle is not over—we will continue to fight for Daniel. We are already working to prepare for the sentencing hearing.”
Abbott also promised to rein in “rogue District Attorneys.”
“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,” Abbot said. “Additionally, I have already prioritized reining in rogue District Attorneys, and the Texas Legislature is working on laws to achieve that goal.”
In a Twitter reply on Saturday, Abbott said he “strongly support[s]” allegations that Garza “intentionally mislead the Grand Jury.”
“I’m grateful to our dedicated career prosecutors and victims’ counselors who tried this case. They worked hard to make a complete and accurate presentation of the facts to the jury,” Garza said in a statement following Friday’s verdict. “Our hearts continue to break for the Foster family. We hope this verdict brings closure and peace to the victim’s family.”
Abbott’s decision to seek a pardon has drawn a mixed response.
Foster’s brother, Ryan Foster, told Austin American-Statesman on Saturday that Perry shouldn’t be pardoned.
“This was clearly premeditated,” he said, adding that 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.”
State Sen. Sarah Eckhardt, a Democrat, called Abbott’s decision “a stunning and dangerous abrogation of the rule of law that will embolden more armed confrontations and inevitable tragedies.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton took to Twitter to say he agrees with Abbott “on this 100%.”
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) wrote that he is “fed up w/ Left’s double standard of justice.”
“Gov. Abbott’s right to request this case be reviewed by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and I look forward to his approval of their recommendation,” Babin added. “There are often tragic consequences to dangerous behavior.”
Tom Fitton, president of conservative transparency group Judicial Watch, applauded Abbott for “taking aggressive steps to restore confidence in the fair administration of justice by moving to pardon Sgt. Perry.”