NWGA Scanner | July 4th, 2021

18-year-old gang member convicted in violent 2019 armed robbery in Dalton

Alexandro Agapito Perez-Lucas, 18, formerly of  1106 Nelson Street, Dalton, was found guilty late Friday by a Whitfield County Jury on 12 felony counts including armed robbery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, use of a firearm during the commission of a crime and several violations of the Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act. Perez-Lucas is a documented member of the Sureño street gang.  Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris presided over the trial and set sentencing for July 23, at 9 a.m.  The state’s case was presented by Assistant District Attorney Ian Whittle and University of Georgia law student intern Allison Parker with assistance from Detectives Jacob Burger and Matthew Kumnick of the Dalton Police Department.  Perez-Lucas was represented by local attorney Anna Johnson. Evidence in the case was presented from June 30 to July 1, wrapping up near the end of the day.  Judge Morris brought the Jury back Friday morning for instructions and they began deliberating thereafter, returning the verdict late in the afternoon.  Attorneys Whittle and Parker called five witnesses and presented 23 exhibits including a video of the armed robbery and a recorded confession of the Defendant. The evidence established that Perez-Lucas and another individual, Sergio Alberto Perez, held a cashier and customers at gun point while they robbed the La Esquinita store on Hamilton Street.  Each defendant had a hand gun during the robbery. Two children, ages 8 and 10, were present in the store during the robbery.  The evidence also included a photograph of Perez-Lucas, taken two hours after the robbery, showing him with the firearm he used during the robbery and a large amount of currency fanned out for display.  Over twelve thousand dollars was taken during the robbery.  The defense argued that while Perez-Lucas was clearly a Sureño gang member, he was not the individual shown on the video and that his confession was false and intended to protect another gang member. Co-defendant, Sergio Perez, 22, pled guilty in April and was sentenced to Judge Morris to serve 35 years in prison. Perez had two prior felony drug convictions on his record prior to his involvement in the robbery.  A third individual, Luiz Perez-Bautista, also pled guilty in April to making false statements to law enforcement in connection with the incident and was sentenced to probation. Perez-Lucas faces 10-20 years to life in prison on the armed robbery count, with any time served being without the possibility of parole.  He faces a possible additional 20 years for aggravated assault, 10 years for false imprisonment, up to 20 years on each gang activity count and up to 5 years for possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime which, by law, must be served consecutively to (or back-to-back with) the underlying crime.
While only 18 currently and only 16 at the time of the offense which occurred one month prior to his 17th birthday, Perez-Lucas claimed his gang affiliation since the age of 12 and had a history in Juvenile Court including gang activity and weapons charges prior to the current offense.  Under Georgia law, juveniles age 14-16 who commit certain serious violent felonies, including armed robbery if committed with a firearm, are prosecuted as adults.  Perez-Lucas has been in custody since his arrest in November of 2019 and will remain in custody pending the sentencing hearing.