MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The trial that would determine the fate of alleged cop killer Marco Perez began Monday with jury selection.

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Perez, who was 19 at the time of the shooting, is accused of murdering Mobile Police Officer Sean Tuder in January 2018 with a stolen gun at the Peach Place Inn. Prosecutors are expected to seek the death penalty.

Perez has a long criminal track record:

  • Multiple vape shop burglaries.
  • Connected to at least 18 car break-ins.
  • Federal charge for possession of a semi-automatic handgun
  • Capital Murder
  • Second Degree Assault for shanking a fellow inmate while in jail for his Capital Murder charge.

Investigators confirmed that Perez was involved in a gun trafficking ring, where most of the guns were stolen from unlocked cars. MPD said the gun used to kill Tuder was stolen just days before.

Also a few days before the murder, Perez’s mother, Tiffany Perez, was arrested for a false police report charge for helping her son fake his kidnapping. She filed a missing person’s report while he had a federal gun possession charge over his head.

Officer Tuder was called into work on his day off when MPD got a tip that Perez was spotted at the Peach Place Inn. His sole mission, according to former Police Chief Lawrence Battiste, was to ‘lay eyes’ on Perez.

“Officer Tuder has been working diligently over the last month to try to take Mr. Perez into custody,” Battiste said in 2019.

Given the mission’s undercover nature, Tuder was alone and was not wearing a bulletproof vest or a body-worn camera. During Perez’s preliminary hearing, Detective Jermaine Rogers was the only witness to take the stand, and he said Tuder was wearing regular civilian clothes.

The defense argued that the capital murder charge should be lifted because Perez didn’t know Tuder was a police officer based on his appearance and use of an unmarked vehicle.

Rogers testified video surveillance showed Perez walking toward the vehicle Tuder was in as he believed a relative was coming to get him. The video shows Tuder getting out of the vehicle and pointing his weapon at Perez. Tuder then attempted to arrest Perez. The two went out of range of the camera and scuffled. Tuder was killed after being shot three times.

Police tased Perez in a wooded area near the scene. According to Rogers, Perez was heard saying, “I messed up; I messed up.”

It could take weeks before a finalized jury group sits in the courtroom to listen to the trial.