(Reuters) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Saturday that he was seeking to pardon an Uber driver convicted a day before of murder in the July 2020 shooting of a man during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in downtown Austin, Texas’ capital.
In a tweet, Abbott said that he would pardon Daniel Perry (37), who is also an U.S. Army Sergeant, "as soon as the request from my parole board hits my desk."
Abbott, who is a Republican and a former governor, said that while he can request pardons, the Governor cannot grant them without the Board of Pardons and Paroles of the State.
The case turned on whether or not the shooting was done in self-defense. According to the Austin American-Statesman, a jury found that Perry, a white man, killed Garrett Foster, a Black 28-year-old who was carrying an AK-47.
Media reports that Perry was driving through the city on the night of shooting. He parked his Uber car in a street where Black Lives Matter protesters were marching. Perry stopped his Uber vehicle and several protesters, including Foster, approached it. According to media reports, protesters told police they thought they were going to be assaulted by the vehicle.
The newspaper reported that Perry's team claimed the gun was pointed at him, and he could not have done anything but fire his pistol as self-defense. Reuters was unable to reach Perry's lawyers by phone or via email.
According to reports, Perry was found guilty of murder by the jury after 17 hours of deliberation during the eight-day long trial.
I will act as quickly as Texas law permits in regards to the pardoning of Sgt. Perry', Abbott wrote on Twitter.
He said that Texas has one of strongest self-defense laws in the country, "Stand Your Ground". This law cannot be overturned by a district attorney or jury. "I have also prioritized reining-in rogue district attorneys, and the Texas Legislature has been working on laws that will achieve this goal."
Jose Garza is a Democrat and the Travis County district attorney, where the trial took place and Austin is located. He has been in his office since January 1, 2021.
Perry is facing life imprisonment and will be sentenced on Tuesday by State District Court judge Clifford Brown, according to the online court records of the 147th District Court for Travis County, Texas.