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Teen girl to be tried as adult in capital murder case

September 7, 2018

A 16-year-old girl charged with capital murder in last year’s fatal stabbing of a Richmond man has been certified to stand trial as an adult.

Dalena Nguyen was 15 when officials say she and Terrell Derrick Funches, 20, were involved in the murder of 44-year-old Altaf Hussain Malik. Police said Malik was attempting to sell his car in Houston’s Third Ward when he was stabbed to death.

Malik’s body was discovered Dec. 7 in a dumpster, covered in trash bags. Houston police arrested Nguyen and Funches in February.

Nguyen’s case was referred to the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department, but an order made public Thursday said that a juvenile district court judge had waived jurisdiction over the case.

Nguyen is being held in jail without bond.

Investigators said Malik had planned to sell his 2009 Audi A8 to an unknown person at the intersection of Bellaire Boulevard and State Highway 6.

On Dec. 6, members of Malik’s family told the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office that he was missing, according to a Houston police report. When Malik’s body was discovered the next day, at 3019 Truxillo St. near Texas Southern University, officers and paramedics found he had been stabbed and pronounced him dead at the scene.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and Houston police jointly investigated the case.

Nguyen faces a life sentence if convicted of capital murder. The Supreme Court has banned capital punishment and life without parole sentences for juveniles. The Legislature in 2013 passed a law setting life with parole as the only option for minors who are charged with capital crimes. They become eligible for release after 40 years in prison.

The Islamic Society of Greater Houston started an online GoFundMe fundraiser for Malik’s wife and four children soon after he disappeared. It raised more than $235,000.

jasper.scherer@chron.com | Twitter: @jaspscherer

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