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Army sergeant sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Black Lives Matter protesters in Texas

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A US Army sergeant convicted of killing a protester at a 2020 Black Lives Matter rally was sentenced Wednesday morning to 25 years in prison.

Daniel Perry, 35, shot and critically wounded 28-year-old Air Force veteran Garrett Foster at a racial justice rally in Austin, Texas, two months after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. He was sentenced to between 5 and 99 years. Jail for crime.

Foster’s mother later praised the ruling and District Court Judge Clifford Brown. “Finally, after three long years, we have got justice for Garrett,” said Sheila Foster.

Wearing a black and gray striped prison uniform, Perry covered her head with both hands and cried as she was sentenced. His attorney said he plans to appeal the verdict.

The day before, Perry’s attorneys had sought a 10-year prison sentence, citing his lack of a criminal record, psychological problems including complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and praise from several military colleagues.

Prosecutors sought at least 25 years in prison, highlighting racist and inflammatory social media posts Perry wrote before the shooting. Prosecutors also said that the defense’s own analysis of his mental disorder and mindset showed that he was a “loaded gun ready to fire”.

The sentencing came almost immediately after Foster’s murder of Perry in cases such as the Kyle Rittenhouse case in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which dealt with embarrassing political issues such as gun rights, open carry laws, self-defense and Black Lives Matter protests. three years later. Perry and Foster are white.

Prosecutors said the fatal encounter began when Perry, who was stationed at Fort Hood, ran a red light and drove through a crowd gathered in protest. Prosecutors said Foster approached Perry’s car openly carrying an assault rifle, which is legal in Texas, and motioned to roll down the windows, at which point Perry shot and fatally wounded him. Wounded.

Perry’s legal team argued that his actions were self-defense. According to CNN affiliate KEYE, she told police in an interview that she believed Foster was pointing a gun at her.

He was indicted by a grand jury about a year after the murders. In April, a Texas jury found Perry guilty of murder but acquitted him of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Deadly conduct charges are still pending.

Attorney praises governor’s pardon push

Sentence length can eventually become an issue.

Shortly after his conviction last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, said he wanted to pardon Perry and made an unusual request to the state Pardon and Parole Board to review the case before sentencing.

“Texas has one of the strongest self-defense laws that no jury or progressive district attorney can override,” the governor said in a Twitter statement.

Under Texas law, the governor can pardon Perry only if recommended by the clemency and parole board.

The board said at the time that it had immediately launched an investigation and would report its recommendations to the governor upon completion. The board said Wednesday an investigation was ongoing and declined to comment further.

Before sentencing Wednesday, the judge praised the jury for grappling with the nuances and complexity of the case for weeks.

“The hard work, service and sacrifice of the jurors is our honor and deserves our respect,” he said.

Perry’s attorney, Clinton Broden, released a statement minutes after sentencing, praising the governor for insisting on clemency to keep the system under control.

“In short, the incident Sergeant. Perry may have ultimately been pardoned. It is only because of the strong self-defense laws that exist in Texas and the evil District Attorney’s politicking of undermining the rights of Texas citizens to please his political supporters.” Reflects the efforts, he said.

Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza rejected the defense’s criticism and said the entire case was considered by the grand jury, the judge and the trial jury.

“Ultimately, the accused in this case went through a process and outcome based on the facts and the law,” Garza said.

The Amnesty Committee promises to hear a presentation from Foster’s office and the Foster family in the coming weeks, Garza said.

“Our criminal justice system is not perfect, but it worked in this case, and the Travis County District Attorney’s Office does not fight the integrity of that process in Garrett and Travis County,” he said.

The family speaks up for Foster.

After sentencing, many of Foster’s colleagues praised the Air Force veteran and criticized Pay.

His mother, Sheila Foster, praised her son’s strong moral beliefs about the 25-year sentence and racial equality.

“I and everyone who loves Garrett will fight for the rest of his life for what matters most to him. That is racial equality, standing up to abuses of power, doing what is right, fighting the less fortunate. To feed and love everyone no matter what,” she said. “There is no place here for violent hate-filled racists.”

Foster’s sister, Anna Mayo, said she did not believe Perry’s remorse and called him a “little man” with no respectable traits.

“You killed someone who took an oath to defend this country and the Constitution and then exercised his constitutional right to protest and his right to open carry, and you killed a veteran for that,” He said.

Foster’s fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, testified how her life had changed since his death the day before.

Mitchell is a quadruple amputation and said Foster has been her sole caregiver for the past 11 years, helping her prepare for the day, cook meals, and serve as a costume designer. Together they bought a house in Austin, and she said it was difficult living there without him.

“It’s hard to be there every day. It’s hard to sleep in my bed because he’s not there,” she said. “He was my primary caregiver for 11 years and I had friends who cared for me and I had to learn that Garrett What did you do for me for 10 years. Being vulnerable is comfortable.

On Wednesday, Michelle’s mother Patricia Kirwen told the court her daughter had been suffering for the past three years.

“She was there day and night. She has no one now. She doesn’t know what to do with herself. She’s broken. She’s a shattered shell of who she once was. I see her life, her face, There is no joy visible in her eyes,” she said. “And I hope that from tomorrow, she will be able to get her life back.”

Army “under review”

According to Army spokesman Bryce S. Duby, Perry has served in the infantry since January 2012, including tours in Afghanistan and Poland, but is “waiting to be separated from the Army.”

“The Army has reviewed the evidence released by the Travis County District Court and forwarded the information to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Unit to conduct an independent review of the allegations contained in the documents,” Dubi said on Wednesday.

At Tuesday’s sentencing, several witnesses testified about Perry’s background and the impact of the shooting.

For the defense, forensic psychologist Greg Huff, who twice examined Perry earlier this year, testified that he was diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder and autism spectrum disorder.

With his military experience, Perry had an “us versus them” mentality. His mindset was, “I defend myself. I’m preparing for an imminent attack, and anything outside is a potential threat,” Hupp said.

On cross-examination, prosecutors stated that military service records did not indicate these psychological problems.

Prosecutors also referred to documents released by Judge Travis County after Perry’s sentencing that showed Perry had a history of making racist comments in messages and social media posts over the years.

A few weeks before the shooting, Perry told a friend in a May 2020 Facebook message that he “might have to kill some people” who were rioting outside his apartment. And in a social media commentary on June 1, 2020, Perry compared the Black Lives Matter movement to “a zoo full of fearful monkeys throwing up their own shit”.

In a statement to CNN, Broden condemned the release of the documents, saying it was a political decision by prosecutors. Broden said Foster also made posts on social media advocating violence and supporting the riots, most of which could not be made public due to Texas discovery rules. However, some posts have surfaced, including one praising the 2020 Minneapolis Police Department fire.

CNN has reached out to the governor’s office for comment on the social media posts. An attorney for the Foster family declined to comment on the sealed documents.

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