Whitfield County Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris on Frid, ay sentenced Alexandro Agapito Perez-Lucas, 18, formerly of 1106 Nelson St., Dalton, to serve a total of 85 years in prison with the first 20 years to be served without the possibility of parole.
Perez-Lucas was convicted by a Whitfield County jury on July 2 following a three-day trial of armed robbery, false imprisonment, criminal street gang activity and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
The sentence also requires Perez-Lucas to pay $13,383 in restitution to the victim business, La Esquinita.
Perez-Lucas was represented at trial by local attorney Anna Johnson who argued that his youth and family support warranted a lenient sentence. At trial, Johnson had argued to the jury that while Perez-Lucas was a gang member, he was not involved in the robbery and his statements to the police admitting his involvement were made to cover for another gang member. Perez-Lucas himself made no statements to the court prior to sentencing.
Assistant District Attorney Ian Whittle represented the State at trial and sentencing. Whittle argued that while Perez-Lucas was only 16 at the time of the robbery (committed one month before his 17th birthday), he had been a confirmed gang member since the age of 12 and had previously been prosecuted as a juvenile for gang-related crimes including firearm charges. Whittle further argued that there was a great deal of chatter within the local gang community about this case and sentencing and that the judge should send a message to those gang members that violent gang activity will not be tolerated.
Georgia law provides that juveniles older than 13 who are charged with armed robbery with a firearm may be tried as adults in Superior Court.