Daniel Perry sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder of Austin protester in 2020

A Travis County judge sentenced Daniel Perry to 25 years in prison for the murder of Black Lives Matter protester and Air Force veteran Garrett Foster in July 2020.

On April 7, a Travis County jury found Perry guilty of murder 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.

Judge Clifford Brown of the 147th Criminal District Court read the sentence off in front of a packed courtroom. He also spoke up for the jurors who found Perry guilty.

"Every single person who sits in the seat of the accused, as Mr. Perry does in this particular case, receives a fair, impartial trial to be judged by the jury of their peers and, in this case, that is exactly what Mr. Perry got a fair and impartial trial. The hard work, the service, and the sacrifice of this jury deserves our honor, and it deserves to be respected," said Judge Brown.

The 25-year prison sentence was a sentence the Foster family was hoping for.

"Finally, after three long years, we're finally getting justice for Garrett. Me and everybody who loves Garrett will fight for the rest of our lives for the things that mattered the most to him, and that is racial equality, standing up against abuse of power, doing the right thing, feeding the less fortunate, loving everyone no matter what," said Sheila Foster, Garrett Foster’s mother.

However, Perry’s defense team wanted 10 years or fewer. Perry’s parents were unable to hide their emotion after the sentence was read. They had to leave the courtroom three separate times to cry.

Even Perry, himself, cried after hearing the judge’s sentence.


"Everyone is completely devastated, as you might expect. There are no winners in a case like this, but our job is to keep fighting," said Doug O’Connell, Perry’s defense attorney.

Perry’s defense team told FOX 7 Austin the plan is to appeal.

"Our fight for Daniel Perry is not over. We will appeal this verdict. While we respect the court greatly, we can't agree that Daniel Perry received a fair trial," said O’Connell.

The Foster family wants this to be the end of it. Foster's sister, Anna Mayo, spoke directly to Perry and said she hopes this changes him for the better.

"I hope that this prison sentence changes you. I hope that you see the damage that you've caused one day, but, until then, I hope what you have seen and heard in this courtroom plays in your head constantly and that it haunts you," she said.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is still considering Governor Greg Abbott’s request to pardon Perry

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.

After the sentencing, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza told FOX 7 Austin his office plans to meet with the board to present key evidence on the trial.

"The board has committed to our office that we will be allowed to make a presentation, and they have committed to hear from the family of the victim in this case. I will work with the board to find a time when our office can make that presentation. The Travis County District Attorney's Office is not done fighting for Garrett," said DA Garza.

Daniel Perry’s defense team released a statement after the sentencing.

"While we had hoped for a sentence of ten years or less, now that the sentencing is complete, we are now able to turn our concentration to the appeal process. As part of the appeal we will be able to focus on the evidence that was kept from both the grand jury and trial jury including (1) repeated instances in which Mr. Foster, along with his friends, harassed and terrified other motorists in an effort to take over the streets of Austin and (2) the fact that Mr. Foster was dismissed from the air force for mental health reasons and prohibited by the military from possessing firearms for those same reasons. We expect the appeal will also focus on the allegations from decorated homicide detective David Fugitt that Travis County District Attorney Garza tampered with his grand jury testimony in this case as well as evidence of admitted trial jury misconduct that certainty could have influenced the ultimate verdict. It is also hoped that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will now be in a position to initiate an investigation into the criminal witness tampering allegations against Mr. Garza by Detective Fugitt. We also are now in a position to fully cooperate in the Texas pardon process. While we are aware of the criticism that has unfairly surrounded Governor Abbott’s expressed intent to pardon Sgt. Perry, that criticism fails to account for the fact that the pardon process was designed, in part, to be a check on the system. Moreover, those who claim that Governor Abbott’s expressed intent is based on politics simply choose to ignore the fact that it was only the political machinations of a rogue district attorney which led to Sgt. Perry’s prosecution in the first instance. This political prosecution came after the Austin Police Department’s extensive investigation concluded that Sgt. Perry acted in self-defense.  In short, in the event Sgt. Perry might ultimately receive a pardon, it would simply reflect the strong self-defense laws that exist in Texas and the political efforts of a rouge district attorney to curtail the rights of Texas citizens in an effort to appease the district attorney’s own political supporters. While some of Daniel Perry’s social media posts were certainly troubling and completely inappropriate, the fact remains that Garrett Foster had similar troubling and inappropriate social media posts celebrating violent protests, the torching of police stations and the blinding of police officers.  More importantly, Sgt. Perry’s social media evidence does not change the fact that, on the night of July 25, 2020, while protestors were kicking, pounding, vandalizing, rocking and intentionally boxing in Sgt. Perry’s car, Garrett Foster ran up to the car brandishing an assault rifle and carrying a club, a knife and 120 rounds of ammunition.  Moreover, in direct contrast to what some of Mr. Foster’s fellow protestors told the jury in this case, some of these same protestors had previously demonstrated Mr. Foster to be holding the assault rifle parallel to the ground when he ran up to Sgt. Perry’s car.  Meanwhile, another of Mr. Foster’s fellow protestors previously admitted that Mr. Foster screamed at Sgt. Perry to get out of the car while indicating with his AK-47x assault rifle. Simply put, on July 25, 2020, Garrett Foster was dressed for combat and not for a protest."

On May 3, a Travis County judge rejected Daniel Perry's request for a new trial. His counsel originally filed the request on April 11, alleging in court documents that key evidence was kept from jurors.

The defense had 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.

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.