Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Pardons Man Convicted in 2020 Fatal Shooting of Black Lives Matter Protester

Daniel Perry was convicted of murdering protester Garrett Foster in 2020, and has already been released from prison in Texas

<p>getty; AP</p> Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Pardons Man Convicted in 2020 Fatal Shooting of Black Lives Matter Protester

getty; AP

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Pardons Man Convicted in 2020 Fatal Shooting of Black Lives Matter Protester

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has officially pardoned U.S. Army Sgt. Daniel Perry, who was convicted of murdering Black Lives Matter protester Garrett Foster in 2020.

According to reports from the Austin American-Statesman, Perry — who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for Foster's murder in April 2023 — was released from prison in Rosharon, Texas, less than one hour after Abbott signed a pardon proclamation.

On Thursday, May 16, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles wrote in a statement that it recommended Perry to be pardoned on the murder conviction.

"The members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles delved into the intricacies of Perry’s case. The investigative efforts encompassed a meticulous review of permanent documents, from police reports to court records, witness statements, and interviews with individuals linked to the case," the statement reads in part.

"After a thorough examination of the amassed information, the parole board reached a decision on May 16, 2024. The Board voted unanimously to recommend a full pardon and restoration of firearm rights."

Related: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Seeks to 'Swiftly' Pardon Man Found Guilty of Murdering BLM Protester

Abbott began seeking a pardon for Perry in April 2023, citing Texas' "Stand Your Ground" self-defense laws that "cannot be nullified by a jury or a progressive District Attorney."

During Perry's 2023 trial, his attorneys argued that he had acted in self-defense against Foster, who was carrying an AK-47-style rifle, while prosecutors claimed that Perry provoked a group of protesters when he ran a red light and drove towards them, CBS Austin, reported at the time.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Foster never raised his weapon, and that the former military sergeant fired five shots at him, hitting him multiple times.

According to the New York Times, the prosecution also presented evidence that Perry had made extensive racist comments online prior to the murder of Foster, and that psychological experts who weighed in during the trial said that Perry was "basically a loaded gun."

Among the comments was a post from Perry stating "I am a racist" and "Black Lives Matter is racist to white people," per previous reports from the American-Statesman.

Related: Texas Army Sergeant Found Guilty of Murdering Black Lives Matter Protester in 2020

Perry was found guilty of murder but acquitted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, the Travis County District Attorney's Office said at the time.

The case's verdict led Abbott to push for a pardon, writing in a statement on X in April 2023 that he was "working as swiftly as Texas law allows" to pardon Perry.

On Thursday, Abbott also spoke out against Travis County District Attorney José Garza, according to the American-Statesman, writing in a proclamation that the attorney "demonstrated unethical and biased misuse of his office in prosecuting Daniel Scott Perry."

Garza spoke out against the parole board decision and against Abbott, writing in a statement to the outlet the decision reflects how they both have "put their politics over justice and made a mockery of our legal system."

"They have sent a message to Garrett Foster’s family, to his partner, and to our community that his life does not matter. They have sent the message that the service of the Travis County community members who served on the grand jury and trial jury does not matter," Garza wrote. "We will not stop fighting for justice."

<p>getty; AP</p> Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Daniel Perry

getty; AP

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Daniel Perry

Doug O'Connell, an attorney for Perry, also told the outlet in a statement that the "action by Governor Abbott and the Pardon Board corrects the courtroom travesty which occurred over a year ago and represents justice in this case."

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

"I spoke to Daniel Perry this afternoon. He is thrilled and elated to be free. Daniel is also optimistic for his future," O'Connell added.

Foster's partner, Whitney Mitchell, released a statement via her attorney Angelica Cogliano to the American-Statesman following Perry's release from prison Thursday.

"I loved Garrett Foster. I thought we were going to grow old together," Mitchell said. "He was the love of my life. He still is. I am heartbroken by this lawlessness. Governor Abbott has shown that to him, only certain lives matter. He has made us all less safe."

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.