The former US Army sergeant convicted in the shooting death of a Black Lives Matter protester in Texas will spend likely over two decades behind bars.
Daniel Perry, 36, was sentenced to 25 years prison on Wednesday for shooting US Air Force veteran Garrett Foster at a BLM rally in downtown Austin on July 25, 2020, the Texas Tribune reported.
Perry was convicted of murder last month, prompting Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to pledge to pardon the former soldier and reign in “rogue District Attorneys.”
“After three long years we’re finally getting justice for Garrett,” the victim’s mother, Sheila Foster, told the court on Wednesday.
“Mr. Perry, I pray to God that one day, he will get rid of all this hate that is in your heart.”
Foster, 28, was carrying a legal AK-47 at a protest against police violence at the time of his death. Perry’s attorneys argued at trial that he fired his handgun multiple times in self defense after Foster raised his rifle at him, the Tribune said.
Witnesses, however, said Foster was pushing his fiancée’s wheelchair at the time of the shooting, and never pointed his firearm at Perry.
In the days after his conviction, unearthed social media posts and messages also revealed Perry’s virulent disdain for BLM protesters in the months leading up to the confrontation.
“I might go to Dallas to shoot looters,” he allegedly texted on May 29, 2020, just a few days after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests.
“I wonder if they will let my cut the ears off of people who’s decided to commit suicide by me,” he wrote in another message in June.
At a pre-sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Perry’s attorneys attributed the disturbing comments to “barracks humor” taken out of context, the Tribune explained.
Prosecutors, however, countered that Perry’s mental state made him “basically a loaded gun.”
“He had some kind of complex PTSD, mixed in together with autism, and then you throw in this lethal military training and then he will react to perceived threats immediately and with severe consequences,” Travis County Assistant District Attorney Guillermo Gonzalez said.
“And he’s going to do it again.”
Before he handed down Perry’s sentence on Wednesday, District Judge Cliff Brown commended the jury in the divisive trial.
“The hard work, the service and the sacrifice of this jury deserves our honor, and it deserves to be respected,” he said.
Brown did not address Gov. Greg Abbott’s promise to oversee a pardon for Perry. The state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles is currently reviewing the case, though it is unclear how long the investigation will take.
Perry’s attorney, Clinton Broden, also confirmed following the Wednesday proceedings that his client plans to appeal the conviction.
If granted a new trial, Perry’s defense team already said that it plans to show a brief video in which Foster admits that he carries an AK-47 to “intimidate puss–s who did not share his beliefs.”
Perry – who previously toured in Afghanistan and was stationed at Fort Hood – looked disheveled in court on Wednesday, the Tribune reported. While he openly sobbed when his conviction was read four weeks ago, he remained expressionless when the judge handed down out his lengthy sentence.
With Post wires
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