MVP Leaves After Day 6

Marq Vincent Perez, 26, is escorted from the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building after jurors found him guilty of using fire to commit a federal felony, destroying a religious place of worship and possession of a destructive device. He faces up to 40 years in prison after Monday’s conviction.

For full story on Monday's guilty verdict, click here.

3:48 p.m.:

Jurors found Marq Vincent Perez, 26, guilty after about three hours of deliberation and six days of trial.

They returned guilty verdicts for all three of Perez’s charges, including using fire to commit a federal felony, destroying a religious place of worship, which is a hate crime, and possession of a destructive device.

He faces up to 40 years in prison.


1:45 p.m.:

Jurors began deliberation at 12:45 p.m. after listening to more than two hours of closing arguments Monday, the sixth day of trial for Marq Vincent Perez, 26.

“Hold him accountable for what he did,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharad Khandelwal to jurors.

“This is a well-oiled, cherry-picked case,” said defense attorney Mark Di Carlo during his closing argument.

Perez, who faces three federal crimes and up to 40 years in prison, grimaced as prosecutors summed up their case. Perez is charged with using fire to commit a federal crime, destroying a religious place of worship, which is a hate crime, and possession of a destructive device.

According to Khandelwal’s closing, prosecutors used DNA, forensic ballistics and the defendant’s own Facebook comments to make their case. They also called to the stand a teen accomplice, a 17-year-old Victoria juvenile who has only been identified by the initials “K.R.”

Perez’s own words written in Facebook communications, was ample evidence of his motivations, Khandelwal said.

And setting the Victoria Islamic Center ablaze, he said, was equivalent to telling Muslims living in Victoria and the U.S. to “get out.”

“Why would he do that if he wasn’t trying to send a message,” Khandelwal said.

But Di Carlo repeatedly questioned the credibility of K.R.’s testimony and the government’s reliance on him, calling the teen “the government’s man – or boy.”

Di Carlo described K.R. as a teen trouble-maker, who admitted to selling drugs and burglarizing the mosque.

“K.R. said everything,” Di Carlo said.

But Khandelwal argued prosecutors had presented enough evidence for a conviction even without the teen taking the stand. Calling K.R., he said, was about providing jurors an “inside view” into the mosque’s destruction.

“All the evidence points back to the defendant,” Khandelwal said.

1 p.m. update:

“Do not cover the truth with falsehood,” said defense attorney Mark Di Carlo to jurors, reading from the Quran.

— Jon Wilcox (@thrilcox) July 16, 2018

“Hold him accountable for what he did,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharad Khandelwal to jurors.

— Jon Wilcox (@thrilcox) July 16, 2018

Deliberation begins at 12:45 p.m. after the presentment of closing arguments in the trial for Marq Vincent Perez. pic.twitter.com/l0eKGILcTQ

— Jon Wilcox (@thrilcox) July 16, 2018

10 a.m. update:

Closing arguments are delayed as the court waits for juror # 9, who thought trial was scheduled to begin later. The defense and prosecution elected to wait rather than make # 9 an alternate juror. pic.twitter.com/0UczcUYQAx

— Jon Wilcox (@thrilcox) July 16, 2018

Juror # 9 began driving from Inez, a small town about 30 minutes away, at about 9:40 a.m. “Hurry up and wait,” said one person in the audience after Judge Rainey broke the news.

— Jon Wilcox (@thrilcox) July 16, 2018

Recommended For You


Jon Wilcox reports on courts for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached jwilcox@vicad.com or 361-580-6515.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.
0
0
0
0
0

Jon covers crime, public safety and the courts at the Victoria Advocate. Born in Huntsville, Ala., he grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism at Texas State University.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Transparency. Your full name is required.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. And receive photos, videos of what you see.
Don’t be a troll. Don’t be a troll. Don’t post inflammatory or off-topic messages, or personal attacks.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.

To subscribe, click here. Already a subscriber? Click here.