On Thursday (May 16), Texas Governor Greg Abbott pardoned a disgraced Army sergeant convicted of murdering an Austin, TX Black Lives Matter protester.

Daniel Perry, who was found guilty of killing Garrett Foster, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a Travis County jury in 2023. Abbott previously expressed his desire to absolve Perry and requested to have the Board of Pardons and Paroles review the case. The board unanimously voted in support of the governor and the declaration was signed. Texas' Department of Criminal Justice confirmed that Perry has since been released from behind bars.

As reported by NBC News, Travis County District Attorney José Garza blasted the decision, stating it undermined the legal system. "Their actions are contrary to the law and demonstrate that there are two classes of people in this state where some lives matter and some lives do not," he said. "They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner, and to our community that his life does not matter." Garza also noted that the decision disregarded the contributions of the grand jury and trial jury members who served on the case.

The fatal incident occurred on July 25, 2020, when Perry encountered protesters about 70 miles from Fort Hood where he was stationed. The group was protesting racial injustice and police brutality following George Floyd's murder. Foster, participating in the protest and legally carrying a semiautomatic rifle, approached Perry's car. Perry shot Foster with a handgun from his vehicle and later claimed self-defense.

Abbott argued that Texas' Stand Your Ground law should have protected the shooter from prosecution. However, prosecutors highlighted Perry’s vitriolic texts and social media posts and argued that he could have driven away instead of shooting. Witnesses testified that Foster never raised his rifle during the encounter.

Perry was convicted of murder but acquitted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. In addition to his freedom, the aforementioned pardon restored his right to own firearms.