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The mother of a protester whose killer was pardoned says she was robbed of justice

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The mother of a man killed during a Black Lives Matter protest said Friday she was robbed of “long overdue peace” when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pardoned the Army sergeant convicted of murdering her son.

Sheila Foster said she had been upset ever since Abbott declared he would pardon Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murder last year in the death of 28-year-old Air Force veteran Garrett Foster.

Abbott issued the pardon Thursday for Perry, an Army sergeant who was serving a 25-year sentence, after the governor asked the Board of Pardons and Paroles to consider Perry’s case.

The board offered a unanimous recommendation on Thursday to pardon Perry, and Abbott signed the declaration. Perry was released from prison shortly afterward.

“We finally got a trial and we finally got justice, we finally got long overdue peace, and then the governor ripped it right from under us,” Sheila Foster said. “My life has been hell the last four years.”

Sheila Foster said she has lost 40 pounds since her son’s death and is suffering from cervical cancer, which has been aggravated by the stress of wondering if her son’s killer would be released from prison.

“I’ve been sick ever since the governor announced his plans to pardon,” she said. “There’s not been a single week where I have been healthy every day.”

Garrett Foster was marching with other protesters in downtown Austin on July 25, 2020, against racial injustice and police brutality after George Floyd’s death, when Perry nearly drove into the group.

Foster, who was legally carrying a semiautomatic rifle, approached Perry, who was still in his car, and Perry fatally shot him with a handgun.

Daniel Perry was convicted of murder in Garrett Foster’s death but was pardoned Thursday by Gov. Greg Abbott and released from prison.Jay Janner / AP

Perry told police that Foster had pointed the rifle at him and that he had acted in self-defense.

Sheila Foster said her son had attended the march not only to honor Floyd, a Black man killed that May by a Minnesota police officer, but to help protect protesters.

“I feel like I’m living in a nightmare that I can’t wake up from, and I haven’t been able to grieve for my child like a normal person,” she said.

Abbott and representatives for Black Lives Matter could not be reached for comment Friday.

Travis County District Attorney José Garza said Thursday that he disagreed with the decisions by Perry and the Board of Pardons and Parole.

“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,” Garza said in a statement. “They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner, and to our community that his life does not matter.”

Sheila Foster said she believes Abbott should be removed from office.

“I will spend the rest of my life making sure that happens,” Foster said. “This is so corrupt and it’s all a political circus.”

She said she misses Garrett and relies on memories of him to make her smile, like the time he brought home baby ducks from a creek.

“He grew up an animal lover with birds, dogs, lizards and snakes,” she said, adding that after his death she bought a bird for emotional support. 

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