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Man sentenced to life for 2019 Steelman Grocery murder, armed robbery

The murder trial began Monday morning in the Circuit Courtroom in Gulfport in the 1st Judicial...
The murder trial began Monday morning in the Circuit Courtroom in Gulfport in the 1st Judicial District of Harrison County.(Source: Associated Press)
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 10:20 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WDAM) - A man charged in the murder of Hattiesburg grocery store owner Lisa Nguyen was found guilty and sentenced Wednesday.

According to Lin Carter, the district attorney for Forrest and Perry counties, Jatyran Tuggle was found guilty by a jury on both counts of capital murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

The murder trial began Monday morning in the Circuit Courtroom in Gulfport in the 1st Judicial District of Harrison County, where Judge Robert B. Helfrich presided over the trial. The trial was reset due to a surge of COVID-19 cases in Mississippi, according to orders filed by the Forrest County Circuit Court.

Carter said Tuggle was sentenced to life in prison without parole on the capital murder charge and 20 years on the conspiracy charge, which will run consecutive to the first count.

“The Hattiesburg Police Department did an excellent job investigating the case,” said Carter. “We are so happy we were able to get justice for the Nguyen family.”

Nguyen was shot and killed during the armed robbery on Saturday, July 20, 2019.

According to the district attorney’s office, three men went into the Steelman Grocery Store and opened fire, killing the clerk and firing several times upon a customer at the counter. The men then grabbed the cash register and ran to a waiting vehicle and drove away.

HPD immediately responded to the scene and was able to determine the vehicle was black with a missing hubcap on the front passenger tire. Detectives searched the route the vehicle was seen driving for surveillance footage of the vehicle. They found multiple videos showing the vehicle driving to Highway 49 and going north.

In Richland, the vehicle passed a tag-reader operated by the Richland Police Department. It was discovered that the vehicle was a 2013 Dodge Avenger registered to Tuggle in Jackson. HPD, with assistance from the Jackson Police Department, found Tuggle and brought him back to Hattiesburg for questioning.

According to the district attorney’s office, through the questioning Tuggle, HPD was able to arrest Christopher Tyce, Stephon Hart and Eric Williams as the three men who killed Lisa Ngyuen. Tuggle was also arrested for knowingly being the driver to the armed robbery, which resulted in Ngyuen’s death.

“My office will vigorously prosecute those who commit violent crimes in our counties and will always help victims obtain justice,” said Carter.

On April 8, 2021, Tyce pleaded guilty to capital murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole by Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich.

The Forrest County Circuit Court ordered Hart’s trial to be set at the Circuit Courtroom in Poplarville for Nov. 29. Eric Williams’s trial is set for Dec. 6 in the Circuit Courtroom in the 1st Judicial District of Harrison County.

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