Murder charges against Oklahoma City store owner dropped to second degree

Thursday, December 30th 2004, 6:07 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A convenience store owner who was arrested for the shooting death of an unarmed thief was released from jail after the charges against him were reduced.

Trung N. Duong, 49, was jailed for the death of Anthony Frederick Rowe, 35.

Duong was working at his T&D Convenience Store when Rowe entered the store at about 9:30 p.m. on Dec. 16, grabbed several cartons of cigarettes and left the store.

Duong ``produced a Taurus semi-automatic pistol from the top of the counter and fired three times,'' court records allege.

Rowe was struck once in the back and collapsed and died in the parking lot.

Duong was questioned and subsequently booked into the Oklahoma County jail. On Dec. 20, an Oklahoma County judge ordered Duong to remain there without bail.

The next day Oklahoma City police presented their case to the Oklahoma County district attorney's office, which amended the complaint against Duong to second-degree murder and allowed him to post $50,000 bail.

Duong was released shortly before midnight Dec. 22.

Debbie Forshee, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said Duong's case is still under consideration.

``It's probably going to be sometime the middle of next week before we make any kind of final determination,'' she said. ``There's still some investigation. There's still some law that we need to look at. It's a fairly complicated case.''

Over the past year, Duong's store has been burglarized three times. Once, a burglar drove a car through the store's front door.

Duong himself has been attacked by robbers in the past. On July 28, 2003, two black males robbed him at gunpoint, striking him across the head with the barrel of a gun and forcing him to strip naked.

The robbers fled with his money and his clothing. They have not been captured.

But Duong's behavior in the past has also been questions. In September 2002, he was arrested after shooting at a man who tried to fuel a stolen car at the store's gas pumps.

Duong told police he thought the man was on drugs when he entered the store, ``screaming and cussing,'' so he grabbed the gun and ordered the man out of the store.

As the man started to drive away, Duong fired, shooting a single round into the car.

The district attorney declined to file charges against Duong in that case.