Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared on Saturday that he would commute the sentence of a man who was found guilty on Friday of killing a protester in Austin, provided that a state board made such a request to him.
The governor’s announcement directly places Daniel S. Perry’s fate in the Board of Pardons and Paroles’ hands after Perry was convicted of killing Garrett Foster, 28, at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in 2020.
Who should be pardoned is decided by the board’s members, who are chosen by the governor. Mr. Perry might receive a life sentence.
“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,” Mr. Abbott wrote on Twitter.
I am working as swiftly as Texas law allows regarding the pardon of Sgt. Perry. pic.twitter.com/HydwdzneMU
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) April 8, 2023
I anticipate granting the board’s proposal for a pardon as soon as it arrives on my desk, he continued.
Mr. Perry might vote, regain his ability to serve on a jury, and be released from his prison sentence with the help of a pardon.
The Texas Republican Party chairman, Matt Rinaldi, expressed his disgust with the judgment the day before the governor’s announcement, saying that a pardon from the governor was “in order” and that “this case should have never been tried.”
— Matt Rinaldi (@MattRinaldiTX) April 7, 2023
Requests for comment on Saturday night were not immediately answered by Mr. Abbott’s office or the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Mr. Perry’s prospective pardon poses a threat to the Travis County District Attorney’s office, which handled the case’s prosecution.
Republicans in the State Senate this week filed a bill that would limit the authority of elected prosecutors, especially those in counties with a left-leaning political climate who choose not to prosecute certain cases, such as those involving abortion restrictions.
An email sent to the Travis County District Attorney’s office on Saturday seeking comment did not immediately receive a response.
Mr. Perry, a U.S. Army sergeant on active duty, was driving for Uber on July 25, 2020, when he approached a group of marchers in Austin and stopped, according to the police at the time.
Man Found Guilty In Garrett Foster Shooting Case Receives The Verdict
The officials said that Mr. Foster, a former aircraft mechanic for the U.S. Air Force who had an AK-47-style gun slung in front of him and a bandanna covering his face, approached the car.
Mr. Foster then allegedly threatened Mr. Perry by brandishing a weapon in their direction, according to Mr. Perry’s attorneys throughout the trial.
They contended that Mr. Perry was acting in self-defense when he shot Mr. Foster. Prosecutors, however, claimed that Mr. Perry started the incident.
The Austin American-Statesman noted that throughout the trial, the prosecution used Mr. Perry’s social media posts as evidence, such as when he said that he would “murder a few people on my way to work; they are rioting outside my apartment complex.”
Mr. Perry was found guilty by the jury without dissent. Requests for comment from the Doug O’Connell law firm, which represented Mr. Perry, were not promptly fulfilled.
According to the television station KXAN, which broadcast a video of the trial, once the verdict was read, Mr. Perry slouched his shoulders, covered his head, and sobbed.
Garrett Foster’s brother Ryan Foster opined to The American-Statesman that Mr. Perry shouldn’t be granted clemency.
Kyle Rittenhouse, who was found not guilty of all counts in his trial for the killings of three white men in November 2021, two of whom died, following protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in 2020 over the shooting of a Black man by a white police officer, has been one of Mr. Perry’s supporters.
On Saturday, Mr. Rittenhouse, whose case sparked a discussion over gun rights, posted a tweet in which he expressed his hope that Mr. Perry would be recommended for a pardon by the Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Pray the board of pardons and paroles puts a recommendation for a pardon on @GovAbbott desk next week.
— Kyle Rittenhouse (@ThisIsKyleR) April 8, 2023
Mr. Abbott usually pardons people around the holiday season. He issued two pardons on December 22 of last year and eight on December 221 of this year.
Thomas Whitaker was supposed to be put to death in 2018, but Mr. Abbott decided to spare his life.
The governor agreed with the unanimous decision of the Board of Pardons to commute Mr. Whitaker’s death sentence to life in prison without the possibility of release for planning the 2003 murders of his mother and brother close to Houston.
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