DUNCAN — A Duncan teen was charged with a capital crime for the Tuesday morning murder of a convenience store clerk.
The suspect told investigators he shot the man because of an argument earlier in the day.
Samuel Varela Jr., 18, of Duncan, made his initial appearance Thursday in Stephens County District Court where he received felony charges of first-degree murder – deliberate intent, and robbery with a weapon, records indicate. The murder charge is punishable by life in prison, life without parole or death.
Varela is accused of a bizarre string of Tuesday appearances at Duncan convenience stores that culminated in the shooting death of Malaki Stone at the Chisholm Corner store at the intersection of 9th Street and Bois D’Arc.
According to the probable cause affidavit, police became aware at 3:14 a.m. of a man with a gun trying to rob a nearby Stripes store. An employee called out for a manager and upon finding out someone else was in the store, Varela fled.
It was during a safety check of the nearby Chisholm Corner store where the Stone’s body was found; he died from two gunshot wounds, the affidavit states.
Police recovered security video footage taken from Chisholm Corner. According to Duncan Police, a man approached the store’s drive-thru window from the west at 3:20 a.m. and knocked on the drive-thru window. When Stone opened the window, the man, later determined to be Varela, pulled a handgun from his hoodie pocket and fired two shots before bending over and picking up items. He was seen leaving the area northbound on foot.
Police notified other Duncan convenience stores of the situation and employees at Love’s described the same man as who was in Stripes being at the store multiple times earlier in the evening. According to the affidavit, he appeared nervous.
When a detective went to the Love’s, he would run into Varela. He was wearing a mask when he came inside and was taken into custody. Varela’s car was found in the alley and impounded by police. A search revealed a blonde wig and silver machete inside.
During questioning, Varela said he used a 9mm handgun to shoot Stone. He said the motive was because they had an argument earlier that night, the affidavit states.
Varela’s initial appearance was terminated for the appointment of a defense attorney. It will be rescheduled.
Written by Scott Rains: firstname.lastname@example.org.