Florida Judge Says No to State-Paid Makeup for Prisoner's Face Tattoos

Marcus Jerry asked to cover up facial tattoos for murder trial.
by | August 12, 2015 AT 5:30 PM

By Daphne Duret

A judge has denied a Palm Springs man's request for state money to pay for a makeup artist to cover his facial tattoos during his upcoming trial on murder charges in a 2012 Delray Beach double homicide.

Marcus Jerry, 22, is one of three men a Palm Beach County grand jury indicted in October 2013 in connection with the deaths of Alfonso Hunter, 68, and Reginald Taylor, 52. The men were fatally shot just days before Christmas when two men entered a beauty supply-convenience store and opened fire, police said at the time.

Jerry's attorney, Frederick Susaneck, asked Circuit Judge Richard Burton to authorize payment by the state for a makeup artist to cover Jerry's facial tattoos so jurors won't see them when he stands trial. Burton denied the request, saying the state shouldn't have to pay to cover tattoos Jerry had before his arrest.

No trial date has been set for Jerry or his co-defendants, Pasco Reynolds of West Palm Beach and Travis L. Jackson of Lake Worth, but Jerry is set to return to court Friday for a status check on his case.

Jerry was arrested in December 2012, about a week after the double homicide, on charges related to two separate criminal cases. One involved the September death of a woman who was his girlfriend and the other a December carjacking that took place outside the apartment of another of Jerry's girlfriends.

The death investigation was later ruled to be a suicide.

Courts in Florida and other states have ruled that defendants in cases like Jerry's have the right to wear makeup to cover tattoos to keep from potentially prejudicing jurors against them. In a 2009 case in St. Petersburg, a judge ordered the state to pay for a cosmetologist to cover a Swastika, barbed wire and an obscene word tattooed on a defendant's face and neck during each day of his murder trial.

In a recent Palm Beach County case involving a tattooed defendant, defense attorney Robert Gershman received permission from two judges to apply makeup for Robert Alvarez, one of two men charged with the 2010 killings of two store clerks at a Greenacres Circle K.

Gershman personally applied makeup, provided by Alvarez's family, to his client's face before each day of 2014 retrial as well as his third trial earlier this year. Juries were unable to reach a unanimous verdict in both those cases, and he is now awaiting a fourth trial.

(c)2015 The Palm Beach Post