AUSTIN, Texas — Jury selection is underway in the trial of a rideshare driver accused of murdering a man who was protesting police brutality in Austin in 2020. Army Sgt. Daniel Perry says he shot 28-year-old Garrett Foster in self-defense.
Since the age of 17, Foster shared a special bond with a woman named Whitney Mitchell. Mitchell's mother, Patricia Kirven, calls Foster the "love of Mitchell's life." Mitchell and Foster were engaged, and Foster served as a caretaker for her when she had to have her arms and legs amputated.
"He would never go home. He would go down to the basement and sleep in a car all night long and then get up the next morning, come knock on the door to see Whitney," Kirven said. "I just remember the phone call I got from my daughter, and it's just hard to talk about it, just that sound that I heard from her, the screams."
Foster was killed at a police brutality protest three years ago in Downtown Austin. Perry was working as a rideshare driver. According to Perry's lawyer, he dropped off a rideshare customer downtown when he got surrounded by demonstrators.
Perry claims Foster raised his rifle, prompting Perry to shoot him. Perry says he acted in self-defense and turned himself in after the shooting.
PHOTOS: Garrett Foster
Two years ago, a grand jury indicted Perry with murder, deadly conduct and aggravated assault.
Criminal defense attorney Brad Vinson said the prosecutors will be required to prove every element of those offenses "beyond a reasonable doubt."
"I think the 911 call with Daniel Perry is going to be more than enough to raise the self-defense claim, where he immediately calls the police and says, 'This is what happened,'" Vinson said.
Vinson said when you charge someone with murder, that person has to have intentionally or knowingly killed someone. Vinson believes it will be a hurdle for the State to prove Perry's intent.
"Unless they're able to show, like I said, that he's coming down there looking for it, that he's antagonizing the situation, that he raised his gun with no authority to do so, I don't know that those facts are there in this case," Vinson said.
Since Foster died, Kirven said her daughter has suffered "pain and emptiness."
"Everyone's lives were turned upside down. Garrett's mom's, family's, destroyed. My family's, destroyed," Kirven said.
KVUE reached out to an attorney representing Perry, but they declined to comment.