A judge has ruled that the man convicted of fatally shooting a Black Lives Matter protester in Austin, Texas, back in July 2020 won’t get a new trial.
The decision on Wednesday comes after Daniel Perry’s defense team requested a new trial and Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he would pardon Perry, an Army sergeant. Perry, who is white, was convicted of shooting and killing Garrett Foster, also white, after protesters reportedly surrounded Perry’s car, and Foster, who was carrying an AK-47 across his chest, attempted to talk to him.
A jury found Perry guilty in early April.
“Our office continues to stand by the jury’s unanimous decision to convict Daniel Perry for the murder of Garrett Foster,” Travis County District Attorney José Garza said in a statement on Wednesday, according to CNN.
Perry, who also drives for Uber, said he had just dropped off a customer when he received a text from a girl he liked. He told investigators shortly after he shot Foster that he was texting her while driving and that she had asked him for money, “and when I looked up, the protesters were right there.”
“The protesters were all around me, banging on the side of the car, hitting me with spray paint cans. One guy (Foster) wanted to talk to me,” he told investigators, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Perry said he rolled down his window to talk to Foster, who said something quietly before raising his weapon.
“That’s when I got my weapon and pulled the trigger as fast as I could, and then drove away and called 911,” Perry told police.
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Perry turned himself in immediately.
Other protesters have claimed that Perry sped up into the crowd and that Foster never raised his rifle at Perry.
Perry claimed that he didn’t realize what was being protested, but prosecutors have provided text messages from two months before the shooting showing Perry talking about killing protesters.
“I might have to kill a few people on my way to work, they are rioting outside my apartment complex,” Perry wrote to a friend in June 2020, according to the Austin Chronicle. Perry also spoke to his friend two weeks before the shooting about how to get away with killing a protester — by claiming self-defense.
After Perry turned himself in, the Austin Police Department questioned him and let him go. But months later, in 2021, District Attorney Jose Garza took office and decided to prosecute Perry. A grand jury then indicted Perry. Garza is one of many district attorneys whose campaign was backed by billionaire George Soros.
Perry’s defense team had requested a new trial on the grounds that the district attorney prevented exculpatory evidence from being presented to the jury.
“I had several conversations with the District Attorney’s Office regarding the presentation of exculpatory evidence related to Daniel Perry,” David Fugitt, the lead investigating detective in the case, said in an affidavit presented by the defense. “It became clear to me that the District Attorney’s Office did not want to present evidence to the grand jury that would be exculpatory to Daniel Perry.”
“On more than one occasion I was directed by the Travis County Attorney’s Office to remove exculpatory information that I had intended to present to the grand jury during my testimony,” he said. “Of my original 158 slide powerpoint presentation, the presentation was reduced to 56 slides with almost all of the exculpatory evidence ordered removed. I felt like I did not have any other options but to comply with their orders.”