Decatur police: Sunday homicide victim murdered during robbery

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Jun. 23—The victim of a Sunday morning homicide was shot in the chest during a robbery, according to an affidavit by Decatur police.

Mark Stephens Jr., 19, is charged with capital murder in the Southwest Decatur shooting death of Viet Truong, 44. Stephens, listed in court documents as a resident of Mason, Tennessee, is being held in Morgan County Jail without bond. Truong was a resident of Huntsville, according to police.

An arrest warrant on the capital murder charge was issued Sunday, and police today said Stephens was captured with the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force. He surrendered to authorities at Executive House Apartments at 2807 Sandlin Road S.W. — the scene of the shooting — on Tuesday at 6 p.m., police said.

In an affidavit filed with the Morgan County District Court, Detective Joshua Daniell said Truong was killed during a robbery. Under state law, a murder committed during a robbery is capital murder punishable by life in prison without parole or death.

"The victim was sitting in the driver seat of his vehicle at the apartment complex when he was shot," wrote Daniell. "... (Stephens) confronted the victim while the two were inside the vehicle. The suspect demanded property from the victim, but an altercation occurred.

"Through the altercation, the suspect shot the victim."

Police responded to Executive House Apartments at 8:26 a.m. Sunday, according to police spokesperson Irene Cardenas-Martinez, and found Truong dead next to a vehicle in the parking lot of the apartments.

Morgan County Coroner Jeff Chunn said he pronounced the victim dead at 9:11 a.m. Chunn said the body was transported to the state forensics office in Huntsville for an autopsy.

Police sought the public's assistance during the search for Stephens but warned that he "may be armed and dangerous."

According to Alabama Secretary of State records, Truong was an owner of Rejuvenation Nail Spa LLC at Bridge Street Town Centre in Huntsville. An associate there, Tong Lee, said Truong's wife, also an owner, plans to continue the 10-employee business.

"He was a good guy," Lee said.

The incident was one of two Father's Day shooting deaths in the county, both of which resulted in a search for the suspects.

At 2:21 a.m. that day, according to court documents, Morgan County sheriff's deputies responded to a call at 1221 Lane Road near Hartselle. There they found Demetres Orr, 38, dead with gunshot wounds to both legs, his lower abdomen and left shoulder. A murder warrant was issued for Kellie Monroe Hurley, 37, who turned herself in at the Sheriff's Office on Monday.

Hurley was released on a $150,000 bond the same day.

eric@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2435. Twitter @DD_Fleischauer.

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