Daniel Perry trial: Travis County DA files for governor pardon to be reversed

Travis County District Attorney José Garza says his office will be filing to reverse Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's "unlawful" pardon of former Army Sgt. Daniel Perry.

His office will be filing for a writ of mandamus with the Court of Criminal Appeals.

"Three weeks ago, on May 16, the Board of Pardons and Paroles and the governor put their politics over justice and made a mockery of our legal system and for that they should be ashamed of themselves," Garza said. "Their actions were contrary to the law."

"We will be asking the courts to intervene in order to restore the sanctity of the rule of law in this great state," he added.

Holly Taylor, director of Public Integrity and Complex Crimes, spoke as well.

"The premise of the writ is simple, our democracy and our state works when each branch of government does not exceed this constitutional authority," Taylor said. "When Governor Abbott issued the pardon, not only did he circumvent the process for pardons, he exceeded his authority and violated the Separation of Powers Doctrine."

Garza was also joined by Foster's mother Shiela Foster and fiancée Whitney Mitchell.

"After waiting three years for a trial, we got justice for my son. It was planned, it was premeditated and the very next day the governor announced his plans to pardon and now here we are, he has done it, and I’m not okay with this and nobody should be okay with this," said Shiela Foster.

Last month, Abbott issued a pardon for Perry, who was convicted last year of murder for shooting and killing Garrett Foster, a Black Lives Matter protester and Air Force veteran, in downtown Austin.

Perry's pardon came just hours after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles recommended a full pardon for Perry following a unanimous vote.


Perry was convicted of murder in April 2023 in the July 2020 death of Foster. He was then sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Court documents state he was working as a rideshare driver in downtown Austin, when he turned his car onto a street filled with protestors and shot Garrett Foster before driving off. Foster was legally carrying an AK-47 and Perry says he acted in self-defense.

"It's very, very reasonable for him to have perceived that that barrel was pointed at his body, and he only had fractions of seconds of time to react," said Daniel Perry’s attorney Doug O’Connell.

"Sadly, this is more political theater by Jose Garza. The pardon power of the executive branch is a well settled Constitutional authority. I’m skeptical that Ms. Taylor, who was recently sanctioned by a Travis County Court for violating the Michael Morton Act (hiding evidence), will persuade the Court of Criminal Appeals with a novel theory challenging the Texas Constitution," O'Connell added in a statement to FOX 7 Austin.

"My own child was killed on American soil for doing nothing but practicing his First and Second Amendment rights," said Sheila Foster.

Perry's attorney filed a motion for a retrial in April 2023, alleging in court documents that key evidence was kept from jurors and jury misconduct. That motion was rejected in May 2023.

Shortly after his conviction but before his sentencing, Abbott called on the board to review Perry's case so he could approve it.

Perry still faces a misdemeanor deadly conduct charge. The maximum punishment is a year in jail. Perry has already served more than that.

Perry is scheduled for a pretrial conference for that charge in July.