AUSTIN, Texas — Day one has wrapped up in the trial of a rideshare driver accused of killing a demonstrator at a social justice protest in Downtown Austin.
Daniel Perry says he shot Garrett Foster in self defense back in July 2020. On Tuesday, the defense and prosecution made their opening statements.
The prosecution said the evidence will show the defendant was not truthful with the police and is "unreliable" when it comes to his self defense claim.
"The evidence is going to show that the defendant's actions that night were unreasonable and the defendant was in fact was the person who was engaged in the unlawful use of force that resulted in the unjustified killing of Garrett Foster," prosecutor Guillermo Gonzalez said.
The defense also gave their opening statement, claiming one of Foster's fellow protesters said Foster challenged Perry with a rifle in hand, leaving Perry with "no choice but to use his gun to defend himself."
"Get out of the car! That was Garrett Foster that night and the evidence will show that Garrett Foster was 18 inches, not 3 feet, 18 inches, from that car with that assault rifle," defense attorney Clint Broden said.
The defense went on to say it took 40 seconds for Perry to call 911. The defense claims police officers saw that Perry was "physically and emotionally upset," "visibly shaken" and was "consistent" with someone who had to defend themselves using deadly force.
After the opening statements, attorneys questioned five witnesses, including Hiram Garcia, who took videos of the protests. Attorneys reviewed video that showed when Foster got shot.
The jury also heard from Robert Garrett, a rideshare driver who placed two 911 calls the night of the shooting. Attorneys also showed his dashcam video and played the audio of the calls he placed.
The third witness was Gordon Lefferd, who was at the protest taking photographs. The fourth witness was Travis Bonnet, another rideshare driver. The fifth and final witness Tuesday was Michael Rose, who was at the protest.
Emotions ran high when attorneys questioned Lefferd about the photos taken after the shooting took place, which showed Foster's fiancée, Whitney Mitchell, and her expressions after Foster was shot by Perry.
During his testimony, Garrett admitted he never felt "more scared" in his life after what he saw and that he carries a gun when he's driving sometimes, just based off what happened in this instance.
Day two of Perry's trial begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday.