MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The teenager accused of killing Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder appeared before a judge Monday afternoon.
Marco Perez, 19, is charged with capital murder and pleaded not guilty in the courtroom at Mobile Government Plaza. If conviction on the capital murder charge, Perez would face life in prison without parole or the death penalty.
“There are a lot of people that knew Officer Tuder that are hurting, there were representatives from his guard unit here today and friends and family,” said Ashley Rich, the Mobile County District Attorney. “We treat them the same we treat as any victim of a crime.”
Perez will be back in court on February 12 for a preliminary hearing.
Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste and Mobile Public Safety Director James Barber both attended Monday's hearing which lasted nine minutes.
“This case is a responsibility of mine as the district attorney and I take all of these case very seriously and they're all very troubling and upsetting to me,” Rich said.
Prosecutors and police are continuing to investigate whether people willingly hid Perez before he was finally arrested.
“We certainly are looking at all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the people that were with Perez leading up to this incident,” Rich said.
According to defense attorneys, Perez was put in handcuffs engraved with the fallen officer's name. The defense said it planned filed a motion to prevent those handcuffs from being used on the accused killer.
Prosecutors said the decision to place Perez in handcuffs bearing Tuder's name was made by Mobile County Metro Jail, and not the District Attorney's Office.
According to Mobile County Sheriff's Office, the jail warden approved the use of the handcuffs last week after Mobile Police asked. But after Perez's attorneys complained in court, the handcuffs will no longer be used.
Perez is also facing other charges: including theft of property, receiving stolen property, and burglary. He will be in court again on Thursday to answer to those.