Hearing set to consider accused Mobile cop killer for ‘youthful offender’ status

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 6:28 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Facing a new indictment, accused cop killer Marco Antonio Perez will get a new shot at “youthful offender” status.

Under Alabama law, a defendant who was younger than 21 at the time of an offense can be deemed a “youthful offender,” which caps the maximum punishment at three years in prison and seals court records in the case.

Perez, now 24, is accused of fatally shooting Mobile police Officer Sean Tuder, who was trying to arrest him on a federal gun charge. The Theodore man was set to go on trial this week, but prosecutor Ashley Rich obtained a new indictment from a grand jury, alleging that the defendant killed Tuder while he was “on duty” on Jan. 20, 2019. Worded that way, prosecutors do not have to prove that Perez knew Tuder was a police officer in order to establish an aggravating factor that makes the crime a capital offense.

Mobile County Circuit Judge Ben Brooks denied youthful offender status for Perez in December 2019. But since a new indictment has been issued, the judge must consider youthful offender status from scratch. According to court records, Perez’s attorneys agreed to use the original youthful offender report prepared in 2019.

But Brooks wrote that “upon further consideration, and out of an abundance of caution,” he determined that a state probation officer should prepare a new report. He set an Oct. 28 hearing to consider the matter.

Assuming the judge denies it, as he did the first time, he would then set a trial date.

Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty.