Request for reconsideration of pardon granted to former soldier involved in fatal shooting rejected

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas appeals court on Wednesday rejected a request to consider whether to overturn Gov. Greg Abbott's pardon of a former Army sergeant convicted of killing a Black Lives Matter protester.

Wednesday's ruling by the all-Republican Court of Criminal Appeals at least temporarily blocked a prosecutor's claims that the governor exceeded his pardon power under the state constitution and undermined the appeals process in this politically charged affair.

The court made its decision without explanation. It was not immediately clear whether Travis County Prosecutor Jose Garza would ask the court to reconsider the decision and continue his attempts to overturn the pardon.

Abbott, a Republican, pardoned Daniel Perry in May for the 2020 shooting death of Air Force veteran Garrett Foster during a downtown Austin protest, one of several at the time in nationwide to protest police brutality and racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Perry, a white rideshare driver, said he accidentally drove toward the rally, where he encountered Foster, who was also white and legally carrying a rifle. Perry said Foster pointed a gun at him, but witnesses told police Foster did not raise his gun.

Perry served in the military for over a decade. At trial, a forensic psychologist testified that he believed Perry suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his deployment to Afghanistan and the harassment he suffered as a child. At the time of the shooting, Perry was stationed at Fort Cavazos, then Fort Hood, about 70 miles north of Austin.

A jury convicted Perry of murder and he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. But Perry was released hours after the pardon was granted. Garza's family and Foster want him returned to prison.

Abbott supported Perry's claim that he acted in self-defense and said the state's “Stand Your Ground” laws should have protected him from prosecution.

Prominent conservatives nationwide had rallied behind Perry, and Garza accused Abbott of issuing a politically motivated pardon.

Foster's mother, Sheila Foster, called the pardon “absolutely unacceptable to our family.”

Garza said he believes this case is unique in state history, from the quick request for clemency and its approval to his request for intervention by the appeals court.

Abbott said his constitutional clemency powers are clear.

“IT’S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN,” the governor posted on X shortly after Garza announced his intention to seek to reverse the situation.

Before sentencing, the court unsealed dozens of pages of text messages and social media posts showing Perry held hostile views toward the Black Lives Matter protests.

In May of this year, 14 Democratic attorneys general said the U.S. Justice Department should investigate whether Perry denied Foster his right to free speech and peaceful protest.

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