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Men who killed Bogalusa store clerk stole murder weapon a week before, prosecutors say

The men face murder charges in the killing of a Bogalusa man during a robbery last year. Prosecutors believe they stole the murder weapon from a home a week before.
Credit: WWL-TV

COVINGTON, La. — Two men charged in the killing of a Bogalusa store clerk last year allegedly broke into a Northshore woman's home at gunpoint and stole the murder weapon a week beforehand, prosecutors say. 

Levi Lee, 17, and Lance Rouse, 25, both from Mississippi, were arrested in January in connection to the violent robbery of a convenient store on the outskirts of Bogalusa on Dec. 29, 2018. Surveillance video captured the moment a masked man shot an employee at point blank range with a shotgun, then walked past him to steal cash before fleeing the scene.

The clerk at the JZ Quick Shop on Highway 21, 53-year-old Abdulraham Alaquir Taleb of Bogalusa, died at University Medical Center a day later from his wounds. Lee and Rouse, along with another suspect, 29-year-old Melissa Smith of Tylertown, MS., fled the state and were captured in Alabama. They've been in jail in Washington Parish since their arrest. 

RELATED: Robbers returned to Washington Parish, facing 1st degree murder

On Nov. 8, a grand jury also indicted the men in the burglary of a Covington home a week before the store robbery. According to prosecutors, they broke into the home, went to a woman's bedroom and held her at gunpoint before stealing two shotguns and other items. 

Prosecutors in the 22nd Judicial District say one of those shotguns matches the description of the weapon used to kill Taleb. 

On top of charges of first-degree murder and armed robbery, Lee and Rouse were charged with aggravated burglary. 

In July, Lee was also re-booked and charged after he was allegedly caught on camera starting a fire in the Washington Parish jail along with another inmate. The fire forced the evacuation of dozens of inmates and staff members.

RELATED: Washington Parish inmates face new charges after allegedly starting prison fire

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