Crime - Sacto 911

Man convicted in death of gardening store owner

A man with two previous strikes against him has been convicted of second-degree murder in the 2014 death of a Sacramento-area gardening store owner.

A jury on Wednesday found 36-year-old Marlon Palmer guilty in the slaying of Hoa “Rickey” Tuyen. Palmer was on parole for multiple counts of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon at the time of the killing. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Matthew Gary found that Palmer had two prior strike offenses under California’s “three strikes” law, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

On Feb. 25, 2014, Tuyen was found face down on bags of soil in the back of his business, Discount Indoor Gardening. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. An autopsy report revealed that Tuyen died from asphyxia due to neck compression.

Although there were no witnesses to the killing or surveillance video, the District Attorney’s Crime Lab developed a DNA profile from fingernail scrapings from Tuyen. Detectives were notified that a cold hit on the DNA profile matched Palmer.

Palmer was interviewed and denied knowing or having any contact with Tuyen. He also denied visiting or being in the area of the store, even though cell tower information placed Palmer’s phone in the area of Tuyen’s business during the time frame of the murder, authorities said.

Palmer is to be sentenced by Judge Gary on July 15.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy