Crime - Sacto 911

Three-strikes offender sentenced in garden store owner’s death

A man convicted of second-degree murder in the 2014 death of a Sacramento-area gardening store owner has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

Marlon Palmer, 36, was found guilty by a Sacramento County jury in June in the death of Hoa “Rickey” Tuyen. Palmer was sentenced Friday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Matthew Gary.

On Feb. 15, 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, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office news release.

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 was on parole at the time for multiple counts of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Judge Gary found that Palmer had two prior strikes under California’s “three strikes” law, with this conviction making Palmer a three strikes offender.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy