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A Travis County jury found Army Sgt. Daniel Perry, 33, guilty of murder on Friday, almost three years after he shot and killed Austin protester Garrett Foster.
In 2021 Perry was indicted for murder, aggravated assault and deadly conduct charges for shooting Foster during a July 2020 protest in downtown Austin. The jury also found Perry not guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after deliberating for 17 hours Thursday and Friday following an eight-day trial.
The indictment came one year after Texans took to the streets to protest police brutality following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white Minneapolis police officer in May 2020.
Foster attended an Austin protest on July 25 while Perry was downtown driving for Uber. According to police, Perry stopped his car and honked at people protesting while they walked through the street, blocks from the state Capitol. Seconds later, he drove his car into the crowd, police said.
Foster, who was a 28-year-old white man and an Air Force veteran, had been seen openly carrying an AK-47 rifle at the time, which is legal. There are conflicting accounts as to whether Foster raised the rifle to the driver first — but seconds later Perry, who was also legally armed, shot and killed Foster and fled the area, police said. He called the police and reported what happened, claiming he shot in self defense after Foster aimed his weapon at him. Perry is also a white man.
The case sparked debates over Texas’ “stand your ground” law, which allows people to use deadly force against someone else if they feel they are in danger. But Perry’s social media posts about retaliating against protesters raised questions about the shooter’s state of mind and his self-defense claim.
The “stand your ground” law prohibits an individual from arguing self-defense if they provoked a threat from someone else. Witnesses said that Perry seemed to drive threateningly into the crowd before shots were fired, and his actions seemed intentional.
Judge Clifford Brown said the sentencing hearing could happen as early as next Tuesday, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Perry faces at least five years in prison, but murder convictions can result in a life sentence in Texas.
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