Daniel Perry: New trial motion rejected by Travis County judge
AUSTIN, Texas - A Travis County judge has rejected Daniel Perry's request for a new trial.
His counsel filed the request on April 11, alleging in court documents that key evidence was kept from jurors.
Perry entered the courtroom on May 3 in a prison uniform with his feet in shackles. This was the first time he'd been in the courtroom since the end of his trial last month.
A Travis County jury found Perry guilty of murder on April 7 in the July 2020 death of Black Lives Matter protestor Garrett Foster, and not guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly threatening to drive his vehicle towards another person.
The defense then filed a motion for a new trial four days after the verdict, claiming there was jury misconduct and outside influence that tainted the deliberation process. This included a juror printing out research during a break and presenting it to the other jurors.
"I think if the court was to deny the new trial motion, I think it sends a message to jurors it is okay to do outside research during a trial to try to determine what you can from the internet. You might as well have internet trials," said Clinton Broden, Perry’s defense attorney.
The state had a chance to argue the claims made in the motion. One state lawyer reminded the judge doing research is not illegal, therefore, Perry should not be granted a new trial.
"Simply researching facts or laws related to a case does not necessarily mean it's an outside influence under the legal definition, and it does not necessitate a reversal," said the state.
In the end, the judge made the final call.
"The court is denying your motion for a new trial in totality," said Judge Brown.
Travis County District Attorney José Garza released the following statement after the ruling:
"Our office continues to stand by the jury’s unanimous decision to convict Daniel Perry for the murder of Garrett Foster. We look forward to Mr. Perry’s sentencing on Tuesday so that the family of Mr. Foster may continue to heal."
MORE ON THE DANIEL PERRY TRIAL
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- Daniel Perry's police interview after Garrett Foster's death revealed to jury
- Daniel Perry trial: Racist, anti-protester messages revealed in unsealed documents
Perry's sentencing hearing has been set for Tuesday, May 9 at 9 a.m. He faces five to 99 years in prison.
However, his sentencing may not matter as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called for a pardon for the former Army sergeant in a statement posted to social media less than 24 hours after the verdict was handed down.
In Texas, the Governor can only act on a recommendation by the Board of Pardons and Paroles, but state law does allow Abbott to request the board determine if Perry should be granted a pardon.
The Board later sent FOX 7 Austin a statement about the possibility of a pardon:
"Chairman Gutierrez, the Presiding Officer of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has received a request from Governor Abbott asking for an expedited investigation, along with a recommendation as to a pardon for U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry. The board will be commencing that investigation immediately. Upon completion, the board will report to the governor on the investigation and make recommendations to the governor. The Board has no further comment."
Travis County DA José Garza has also written to the Board to request an appointment ‘to present evidence considered by the jury’ in the trial. He also wants the Board to hear from the victim's family.