A dispute over a small debt led to the fatal shooting of one a man in Texas and the incarceration of another who had fled to Mexico, authorities said.
A jury recently convicted Leonardo Abarca, 27, for the murder of 25-year-old Mustafa Ahmed Marfani seven years ago, and he was sentenced to serve 45 years behind bars, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
The Houston Chronicle reported Abarca owed Marfani between $1,800 and $2,200 and the pair met in the parking lot of a mason lodge to settle the debt around noon on April 7, 2016.
Instead of paying Marfani, the DA’s office said, Abarca shot the man in the head, killing him.
He then fled the scene in a white truck and was stopped the following day by a sheriff’s deputy. During questioning by detectives with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Abarca “broke down” and admitted he shot Marfani over the unpaid debt he owed. He also said his "life was over and that he was going to jail for a long time,” according to the DA's office.
The following year, Abarca, who was free on bail, fled to Mexico until an anonymous tip to authorities led to his arrest and extradition to Texas.
“Gun crime in our community is rampant because of cases like this, in which a relatively minor disagreement led to a cold-blooded murder,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said, the Houston Chronicle reported. “The victim’s family lost a son and a much-loved family member, and our hearts ache for them.”
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