AUSTIN, Texas — The nearly week-long trial for a U.S. Army sergeant accused of killing a demonstrator at a social justice protest in Downtown Austin nearly three years ago has come to an end.
After hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses, the Travis County jury heard closing statements from both the defense and prosecution on Thursday in the case of Daniel Perry, who shot and killed Garrett Foster in July 2020. Following 17 hours of deliberation, the jury found Perry guilty of murder in connection with Foster's death.
KVUE News talked to Garrett Foster's father Stephen Foster after the verdict.
"We're happy with the verdict. We're very sorry for his family as well. There's no winners in this. Just glad it's over," Stephen said.
After the verdict was read, Foster's partner Whitney Mitchell and several of Foster's friends broke down in tears. Daniel Perry also lost his composure shortly thereafter.
Perry was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody by deputies.
The jury found Perry not guilty of aggravated assault, the other charge he faced.
On July 25, 2020, Perry was working as a rideshare driver when he took a turn onto a street where a group of people were protesting police brutality. That wrong turn led to a clash between Perry and Foster.
According to Perry's lawyer, Perry dropped off a rideshare customer in Downtown Austin and was then surrounded by demonstrators. Some of them allegedly beat on Perry's car – including Foster.
Foster and his fiancée had attended previous demonstrations. At the one on July 25, Foster was holding a rifle.
Perry claims Foster raised a weapon, prompting Perry to shoot him. Perry called 911, but Foster did not survive.
Perry said he acted in self defense and turned himself into authorities after the shooting. Since then, he has been out on bond.
In July 2021, after reviewing evidence, a grand jury indicted Perry with murder, deadly conduct and aggravated assault.
During the trial, multiple witnesses came forth to discuss the demeanor Perry held during the encounter with Foster and following the shooting, as well as the energy of the protesters and how Foster was holding his gun. Among those who testified were fellow protesters, a citizen journalist, crime scene specialists, a firearms examiner and the medical examiner who performed Foster's autopsy, among others.
The jury was also shown videos and photos, and the State shared social media posts to back up their claim that Perry had threatened protestors in the past.
This has been one of the highest-profile cases Travis County has seen in recent history.