Texas Army sergeant convicted of murder for shooting protester at 2020 Black Lives Matter rally to be sentenced – KESQ


By Eric Levenson, Lucy Kafanov and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

A sentencing hearing for a US Army sergeant who was convicted of murdering a protester at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020 is expected to resume Wednesday morning amid moves by the Texas governor. to forgive him.

The defense of Daniel Perry, 35, asked the judge on Tuesday to sentence him to 10 years, citing his lack of a criminal record, his psychological problems, including complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and praise from several of his military colleagues. .

The prosecution called for him to be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison, highlighting a series of racist and inflammatory posts Perry wrote on social media before the shooting and the defense’s own analysis of his mental disorders and mentality. He faces between 5 and 99 years in prison.

The sentencing comes nearly three years after Perry shot and killed 28-year-old Garrett Foster at a racial justice rally in Austin following the murder of george floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests against police brutality. Perry and Foster are white.

Prosecutors said Perry, who was stationed in Fort Hood, initiated the fatal encounter on July 25, 2020, when he ran a red light and drove his vehicle into a crowd gathered at the protest. Foster was openly carrying an assault-style rifle and approached Perry’s car and motioned for him to roll down the window, at which point Perry fatally shot him with a handgun, prosecutors said.

Perry’s legal team argued that his actions were justified as self defense. He told police during an interview that he believed Foster was going to point the firearm at him, according to KEYE, CNN affiliate.

He was indicted by a grand jury almost a year after the murder. In April, a Texas jury convicted Perry of murder but found him not guilty on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and one count of deadly conduct is pending.

Shortly after Perry’s conviction on April 7, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he wanted Perry pardoned and issued an unusual request for the state Board of Pardons and Paroles to expedite review of the case before it was released. a sentence is handed down.

‘Texas has one of the strongest’Stand your ground‘self-defense laws that cannot be struck down by a jury or a progressive district attorney,” the governor said in a statement on Twitter.

The governor can only pardon Perry if the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommends it, in accordance with Texas law.

“The board will begin that investigation immediately” and will report back to the governor with recommendations when finished, board spokeswoman Rachel Alderete said after Abbott’s request. She did not specify how long the review would take. The board said Tuesday that the investigation is ongoing and declined to comment further.

Perry had an “us vs. them” mentality, psychologist testifies

On Tuesday, several witnesses testified about Perry’s background and the impact of the shooting.

For the defense, Greg Hupp, a forensic psychologist who examined Perry twice earlier this year, testified that he diagnosed her with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and autism spectrum disorder.

Combined with his military experience, Perry had an “us vs. them” mentality where his mindset was, “I protect myself. I’m ready for any imminent attack and anything can be a potential threat,” Hupp said.

On cross-examination, the prosecution noted that military records did not indicate any of these psychological problems.

The prosecution also referred to documents that were unsealed by a Travis County judge following Perry’s conviction showing that he had a years-long history of making racist comments in messages and social media posts.

Just weeks before the shooting, Perry told a friend in a May 2020 Facebook message that he “might have to kill some people” who were rioting outside his apartment, according to the documents. And in a social media comment on June 1, 2020, Perry compared the Black Lives Matter movement to “a zoo full of monkeys going crazy throwing their shit,” the documents show.

Clint Broden, Perry’s attorney, criticized the release of the documents in a statement to CNN, calling it a political decision by prosecutors.

Broden said Foster also made social media posts advocating violence and supporting riots, most of which can’t be made public due to Texas discovery rules. However, some posts are public, including a post praising the 2020 Minneapolis police station fire.

CNN has reached out to the governor’s office for comment on the social media posts. An attorney for the Foster family declined to comment on the disclosed documents.

Victim’s fiancee says life is hard without him

Whitney Mitchell, Foster’s fiancée, tearfully testified Tuesday how her life had changed since his death.

Mitchell is a quadruple amputee and said Foster had been her sole caregiver for the past 11 years, helping her get ready for the day, eat and work as a costume designer. They had bought a house together in Austin, and she said it’s hard to stay there without him.

“It is difficult every day that I am there. It’s hard to sleep in my bed because he’s not there,” she said. “He was my primary caregiver for 11 years and I’ve had friends who have been taking care of me and they have to learn to do all these things that Garrett has been doing for me for a decade, and it’s hard because I had to get comfortable with being vulnerable.”

The CNN Wire
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CNN’s Rosa Flores, Andy Rose and Alisha Ebrahimji contributed to this report.

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