A motion for retrial has been filed by Daniel Perry’s legal team after the military veteran was convicted of murder last Friday. Allegations of juror misconduct and the withholding of evidence make up the motion, which is coming at the same time a requested pardon from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is being considered by the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles.
During the George Floyd riots of 2020, Perry, who was operating as an Uber driver at the time, turned down a street on which a Black Lives Matter protest was occurring. Protesters surrounded his vehicle, beating and kicking it while a man named Garrett Foster aggressively approached the vehicle with an AK-47 in a ready position. Perry shot Foster, saying that he felt threatened and acted in self-defense.
The motion for a retrial includes quotes from Foster which seek to frame him as the aggressor in the situation. There’s also an allegation of a juror breaking the rules, only to return and improperly influence the rest of the jury (FOX 7).
The motion details why a new trial is necessary by claiming key evidence was kept from the jury which shows Foster and other protesters as the “first aggressor.” Several photos were included in the motion. The defense claims those photos were from a month before the incident and show Foster attempting to stop cars using his girlfriend’s wheelchair as other protesters swarm the vehicles.
A transcript of an interview done with Foster the day of the incident was also included. When asked if Foster thinks he’d use his rifle, he responded, “Na. I think uh- I mean if I use it against the cops, I’m dead. I think all the people that hate us, and you know, wanna say **** to us are too big of a ***** to stop and actually do anything about it.”
The above quote makes Foster seem like a man who was spoiling for a fight. Whether he ever had any intention of using his rifle in any situation is an unanswerable question, but it appears that he was more than willing to act and speak in a way that could give someone the impression he was willing. Part of any self-defense case is establishing whether the one who acted in self-defense reacted in a reasonable manner.
As to the claim of juror misconduct, the defense says one juror brought personal “research” to the rest of the jury. That almost certainly wouldn’t have been allowed by the judge, as jury blackouts regarding press coverage and other information are normal.
The defense claims that evidence would have proven Foster as the intimidator and prove these protests were not as “peaceful” as some testimony led the jury to believe. The motion adds the jury was subjected to outside influence.
According to the defense, a juror revealed another juror conducted research at home during the overnight break and presented that research to the rest of the jury. It was also said that an alternate juror did not verbally participate in deliberations but did make reaction noises expressing displeasure with certain comments made by the jury.
Was the jury biased given the political demographics of the Austin area? Almost certainly, but that’s always a tough case to make to a judge. This motion for retrial is an uphill battle, and Perry’s best chance remains a pardon.