Sean Tuder had two dreams growing up in Jacksonville, Florida. He wanted to be a police officer and he wanted to serve in the military, his mother, Noreen Tuder, told a Mobile federal judge Monday, Jan. 10.
“He loved the ability to help others,” Noreen Tuder said. “He loved his work.”
In a letter Noreen Tuder read aloud to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Beaverstock, she asked for the maximum sentence allowed for her son’s accused killer Marco Perez, as the defendant had been convicted of two gun charges related to Tuder’s 2019 death.
Court records indicate Tuder, while off work and at home, received a call from a confidential informant (CI) Sunday, Jan. 21, 2019, saying Perez was located at Peach Place Apartments. Perez was wanted for outstanding warrants related to gun charges, police have previously confirmed. Tuder, according to a defense motion, was in plainclothes and in his private vehicle.
Tuder, 30, was killed while trying to serve a warrant on Perez, a police source previously told Lagniappe. Tuder had coordinated with a supervisor and had called for backup on the case.
“I’m a Christian woman and one day I will find a way to forgive, but I won’t ever forget,” she said.
After hearing from Noreen Tuder and two other witnesses, as well as hearing arguments from attorneys on both sides, Beaverstock sentenced Perez to 25 years in prison for the charge of possession of a stolen firearm and receiving a firearm while under indictment.
Specifically, Perez was sentenced to 60 months on the first count, 120 months on the second count and another 120 months on enhancements related to federal sentencing guidelines.
“I’m hopeful that you find a way to move forward, or at least you find a way to make things less worse for yourself,” Beaverstock said to Perez. “As an impartial observer during your trial it occurred to me that there were a lot of exits you could have taken along the way and you didn’t take them.”
Beaverstock recommended Perez be placed in a federal prison with mental health care facilities. He also recommended Perez take advantage of resources to help himself in the future.
“I challenge you to decide to make a change,” he said.
A trial is still forthcoming for Perez in the shooting death of Tuder. Beaverstock ordered that the federal sentence run consecutively with whatever the state sentence is if Perez is found guilty by a jury in that case. That means Perez will serve 25 years on top of whatever time he serves in the state capital murder case.
John Beck, an attorney for Perez, argued the maximum sentence in the case should be 10 to 15 years and that the time per charge should not run consecutively because the two charges are for the same gun, among other issues.
“It’s the same firearm and there was uninterrupted possession,” he said. “To rule that the sentences run consecutively would be an error.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle O’Brien mentioned an assault in Metro Jail that Perez was accused of committing in arguing that the sentences should run consecutively.
Beavertock ultimately agreed with O’Brien and overruled Beck.
Beaverstock took other comments into account before making a final decision on the sentence. Sean Tuder’s cousin Anna Marron told the court Tuder was one of 13 cousins whom she called collectively “the wolfpack.” She said she would miss her “kind” and “generous” cousin’s sense of humor the most.
“We would take pride in laughing about whatever family mayhem was happening around us,” Marron said. “His smile was infectious and almost constant. We should still be laughing about aunts and uncles, but I no longer have my right-hand man.”
Like Tuder’s mother, Marron also asked Beaverstock to impose the harshest penalty possible.
“I ask that you apply the maximum sentence possible,” she said. “Without the illegal actions (of Perez) my cousin and my friend would still be here with me.”
Mobile Police Department Sgt. Patrick McKean, a 26-year veteran of the force, was a colleague and friend of Tuder. He called him a “very dedicated officer” whose military service proved he wanted to serve “country, city and county.”
MeKean asked Beaverstock to impose the strictest sentence to show law enforcement and the public that the court was serious about justice. He said he would continue thinking about Tuder’s family and what they’ll go through even after the case is over.
“The impacts will never end for the family,” he said. “It hurts me and it hurts every officer in the police department.”
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