Daniel Perry murder trial: Jury hears from victim's wife, friend who attended protest

Day two of witness testimony began Wednesday, March 29 in the murder trial of Daniel Perry.

In court, the jury was presented with messages posted and sent by Perry before the incident. Some messages sent by Perry included "No protesters go near me or my car" and "I might go to Dallas to shoot looters."

Perry is accused of killing Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster in 2020. 

One of the final witnesses of the day included Stephanie Dyess, an analyst with the District Attorney’s Office. She reviewed several of Perry’s Facebook messages and comments.

One Facebook message Perry sent on May 31, 2020, read, "I might have to kill a few people on my way to work they are rioting outside my apartment complex". On June 1, 2020, Perry commented "glad someone finally did something" on a Facebook post of a YouTube video titled "Protesters Looters Get Shot San Antonio Texas."

Another witness called to the stand was Perry’s childhood friend Michael Holcomb. Perry messaged Holcomb twice, referring to two separate incidents where someone shot protesters and asked if those people were in the right. These messages were sent a month before the July 25, 2020, incident. 

Witness Detective William Bursley with the Austin Police Department was brought on the stand to explain evidence he found extracting data from Perry’s cell phone. This included text messages and Safari searches made from the phone. Some of those searches were made before July 2020 and prompted results for "protest tonight," "protesters in Seattle gets shot," "riot shootouts" and "protests in Dallas live."

Earlier in the day, it was emotional for certain witnesses who took the stand. This included Foster’s quad-paraplegic wife, Whitney Mitchell. Mitchell says she met Foster when they were 17-years-old in high school. 


She says Foster was her main caretaker when she became sick. She, Foster, and close friend Jeremy Lett, who was also called as a witness, attended protests often in the summer of 2020.

On the night of July 25, 2020, Lett was pushing her in her wheelchair during the protest. She told the jury her husband usually pushed her, but could not that night because of his rifle slung across his chest. Once the protest got to 4th and Congress, she remembers seeing a car coming at her and Foster jumping in front of her to tell the driver to "move on."

"And I remember hearing gunshots and Garrett just falling over in front of me and the car sped off," Mitchell recalled while crying.

The debate remained prevalent, why were those deadly shots fired by Perry? The state and defense asked witnesses to clarify how Foster was holding his rifle.

"Across his chest. [He] had it slinged across the chest, downward," said Mitchell.

Three witnesses agreed Foster was holding his rifle slung across his chest with a strap and had it pointed down the whole time. An additional witness agreed it was pointed down, but does not recall a strap. 

A mock rifle was provided to Lett to show how he remembers Foster holding his rifle. Lett recalled the strap being tight against Foster’s chest with the barrel pointed down. 

The defense did question Lett's validity since he admitted to lying to the DA’s Office about his actions that night. He told the office he did not kick the car when it drove past him that night, but later retracted the statement and said he did kick the car.

Trial will pick up Thursday, March 30 at 9 a.m.