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AUSTIN (KXAN) — With Garrett Foster’s family sitting front row in the Travis County Courthouse on Tuesday morning, Daniel Perry entered a not-guilty plea.

Perry is an Army sergeant, who was stationed at Fort Hood in 2020. He admitted to shooting and killing Foster in the streets of downtown Austin on July 25, 2020, during a Black Lives Matter protest.

Opening statements from the state revealed Foster — engaged to a Black quadruple-paraplegic woman at the time — was a frequent BLM protester. In fact, prosecutors said he was protesting nearly every day that summer.

Defense opening statements detailed Perry as a dedicated army sergeant from Killeen. They said during the summer of 2020, to help supplement his income from the Army, he drove for Uber.

According to Perry’s attorneys, he was in Austin on July 25 to make more money driving just trying to make ends meet.

After a few rides, Perry came in contact with a crowd of protesters in downtown Austin after dropping one of his rides off.

The state argues Perry instigated the crowd, causing protesters to respond by hitting and kicking his car, and also screaming at him.

According to state prosecutors, Perry openly discussed his anti-protest feelings on social media. They said he had a conversation with a family friend a few weeks prior to the Austin BLM protest on July 25, about a protest in Seattle, where a driver drove into a crowd and killed a protester. Prosecutors said in this conversation with his friend, Perry agreed someone could and should claim self-defense even if they instigated a crowd.

Perry’s defense said he did everything he could to avoid the protesters as he dropped off one of his riders downtown. They said he was fully cooperative with police and turned over his phone and social media passwords right away, without a warrant.

According to Perry’s defense, police officers who first made contact with Perry said his actions and demeanor were consistent with someone who regretfully used deadly force.

The state said Perry gave three different versions of what happened, leading up to Perry shooting and killing Foster.

“You’re going to hear [Perry] say, he ‘Was sitting at the light, I took a right on red. And all of a sudden, I saw a whole bunch of people,'” the state said. “[Perry] explains that he was texting and driving, and then when he looked up, [and] found himself accidentally having driven into the middle of the protest.

The state said Perry’s last version of the story was: “If he had been able to see the traffic light, he glanced at it and it was yellow.”

Perry’s defense worked to discredit some of the witnesses the state plans to bring forward during the trial, saying some are protesters who weren’t truthful with police about what they saw happened.

The first witness took the stand just before 11 a.m. on Tuesday. His name is Hiram Garcia. He’s a 25-year-old videographer who began his career filming the summer of 2020 protests, at the peak of the BLM movement. Garcia describes himself as an individual journalist who wanted to document history.

Garcia’s video may be key evidence in this murder trial.

“I noticed that this vehicle drove through what I believe was a crowd,” Garcia said. “I just noticed, folks in shock, as you heard some screaming in the background.”

There were some intense moments, with the courtroom nearly full from early in the morning until late in afternoon.

The defense accused Garcia of having an agenda when answering questions.

Garcia expressed the defense asked him questions without allowing him to provide context.

At one point, the judge had to mediate the cross examination, asking that both Garcia and the defense to stop speaking over each other.

There were five witnesses total who testified on Tuesday: A independent journalist/videographer, two Uber drivers and two photographers.

Perry’s defense used a fake, plastic replica of the type of rifle Foster carried that night as a prop to show the jury.

Uber driver, Robert Garrett described the chaos of driving downtown during protests, during his time on the stand.

“I would probably be sitting where he’s sitting right now,” Garrett said, motioning toward Perry. This was in response to Perry’s defense asking him what Garrett would’ve done if he were in a similar situation as Perry.

In the next two weeks, the jury and public will hear from several more witnesses including protesters, APD detective who spent months investigating the case, and foster’s fiancé.