May 10, 2023 - Politics

Daniel Perry sentenced to 25 years for BLM protest murder

Candles and flowers sit in front of a makeshift memorial at a vigil for Garrett Foster in 2020 in downtown Austin. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A man convicted of killing a Black Lives Matter protester in Austin in 2020 was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Driving the news: Texas state District Judge Clifford Brown handed down Daniel Perry's sentence Wednesday for the murder of protester Garrett Foster during a confrontation at an Austin BLM demonstration.

Yes, but: Perry might not spend much time in prison.

The intrigue: Last month, a day after a Travis County jury convicted Perry of murder, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he had asked that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles determine if Perry should be granted a pardon.

  • "I look forward to approving the Board's pardon recommendation as soon as it hits my desk," Abbott tweeted.

Between the lines: That was before racist social media posts by Perry were unsealed by the court.

  • Less than two months before the murder, Perry posted, "Black Lives Matter is racist to white people...It is official I am racist because I do not agree with people acting like monkeys," per reporting by the Austin American-Statesman.

Flashback: Perry, a U.S. Army sergeant and Uber driver, drove into a crowd gathered downtown to protest police violence and later fatally shot Foster, an Air Force veteran who was legally armed with an AK-47 rifle.

  • Perry's defense team said he acted in self-defense, per the Austin American-Statesman, but prosecutors argued that Perry instigated what happened.

Details: Perry faced a sentence between five and 99 years.

At a sentencing hearing on Tuesday, defense attorneys asked the judge to consider a sentence of 10 years, citing Perry's military service.

  • A forensic psychologist they called testified that Perry suffered from PTSD.

The other side: Prosecutors asked for a sentence of at least 25 years.

  • Foster's wife, Whitney Mitchell, a quadruple amputee, testified that "I've had friends who've been taking care of me … and have to learn how to do all of that stuff that Garrett was doing for me for a decade," per reporting by Fox 7 Austin.

What we're watching: Abbott's next move.

  • The politics of pardoning Perry — egged on by Tucker Carlson — might play better among Abbott's Texas base than among national general election voters, should he want to run for the White House.

Of note: The Board of Pardons and Paroles tells Axios its investigation is ongoing and had no further comment on the timeline of a recommendation.

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