Austin, TX – A now-former U.S. Army sergeant who fatally shot a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protester whom he said pointed an AK-47 rifle at him in his vehicle has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for that man’s murder.
Defense attorneys for 35-year-old Daniel Perry had asked the judge to consider a 10-year sentence at a hearing on May 10, ABC News reported.
Lawyers pointed to their client’s clean criminal record, military service in both the U.S. Army and Air Force, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that he suffered as a result of a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
But Travis County Criminal Courts Judge Clifford Brown ignored their plea for leniency and sentenced Perry to the 25 years in prison requested by prosecutors, ABC News reported.
“This man is a loaded gun, ready to go off at any perceived threat. He’s going to do it again,” Travis County Assistant District Attorney Guillermo Gonzalez told the judge.
Former U.S. soldier Daniel Perry sentenced to 25 years for murdering BLM protester. pic.twitter.com/Bbex5sBHHb
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) May 11, 2023
The incident occurred as protesters were marching across Fourth Street on Congress Avenue just before 10 p.m. on July 25, 2020, The Washington Post reported.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said a vehicle turned onto the block and honked its horn at the protesters blocking the street, KTVT reported.
The driver of the vehicle was U.S. Army First Cavalry Division Sgt. Daniel Perry, who was working for Uber to make extra money that night, KWTX reported.
“When Sgt. Perry turned on the Congress Avenue, several people started beating on his vehicle. An individual carrying an assault rifle, now known to be Garrett Foster, quickly approached the car and then motioned with the assault rifle for Mr. Perry to lower his window,” the sergeant’s attorney, Clint Broden, said at the time of the incident.
Chief Manley said Perry and several witnesses told police that 28-year-old Garrett Foster, who was carrying an AK-47-style rifle, approached the driver’s window of the vehicle and pointed the gun at the driver.
“Mr. Foster, who was holding an AK-47 type assault rifle, approached the driver side window, as other people in the crowd started to strike the vehicle,” Chief Manley said “Gunshots were fired from inside the vehicle at Mr. Foster.”
Broden said his client thought Foster was a law enforcement officer at first and that’s why he put his window down when the man banged on it, the Associated Press reported.
The defense attorney said that when Foster raised his AK-47 at Perry, the sergeant realized the man pointing the gun at him was not a police officer and shot him.
Broden said Perry feared for his life and was acting in self-defense when he fired his handgun at Foster and then drove away, the Associated Press reported.
Cell phone video of the incident showed a mob of protesters swarming car just before shots rang out.
Another armed protester opened fire on Perry’s vehicle as he fled the area.
Police said the Perry called 911 and reported the shooting immediately, KTVT reported.
A jury convicted the sergeant of murder on April 7.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott criticized the jury’s verdict and the prosecutor’s decision to charge Perry in the first place, ABC News reported.
Abbott announced that he was “working as swiftly as Texas law allows” to pardon Perry.
Daniel Perry, a Texas man who shot and killed a Black Lives Matter protester in 2020, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) had said he plans to pardon Perry. pic.twitter.com/GfskjS1U9H
— The Recount (@therecount) May 10, 2023
“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,” Abbott said in a statement.