Travis County Jury Indicts Army Sergeant On Murder Charge In The Death Of Garrett Foster
An Army sergeant who fatally shot a demonstrator at a Black Lives Matter protest last year has been indicted on a murder charge by a Travis County grand jury.
Daniel Perry's lawyers say he has been released on bond following the indictment on two felonies — one count of murder and another of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — and a misdemeanor charge of deadly conduct.
Perry's lawyers say he was working for a ride-hailing company when he drove near the protest on Fourth Street and Congress Avenue on July 25. Witnesses told KUT's Mose Buchele that Perry swerved and nearly hit the protesters. His lawyers say the crowd attacked Perry's car and that he shot Garrett Foster, who was carrying a long gun, "to protect his own life."
Perry turned himself in to police and was released shortly after. He has maintained Foster pointed his weapon at him in the altercation.
During a news conference Thursday, Travis County District Attorney José Garza said his office presented an extensive amount of evidence to the grand jury, including more than 150 exhibits and testimony from 22 witnesses over three weeks.
"We take our responsibility to present all of the evidence in any given case to a grand jury very seriously," he said. "And in this case in particular, we presented an extensive collection of evidence for the grand jury's consideration."
Perry's lawyer Clint Broden said Garza will have a hard time proving the charges to a jury because of Texas’ broad self-defense laws.
"It’s an extremely high bar. They have to prove beyond any reasonable doubt whatsoever that Sgt. Perry wasn’t acting in self-defense," Broden said. "I think any fair-minded juror that puts themselves in that position, or any fair-minded citizen, would defend themselves if they had the means and the opportunity to do so.”
Foster was with his fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, when he was shot. In a statement to KUT, Mitchell's attorney Angelica Cogliano said both she and Mitchell were grateful for the indictment in what was "a senseless killing," but that there's still a long road ahead.
"This is the first step in a long process that we hope and trust will yield a just result," Cogliano said.