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Two people sentenced to 40 years for killing man trying to sell his car online

September 11, 2021

Two people have been sentenced to 40 years in prison for fatally stabbing a man trying to sell his car through an internet marketplace in 2017, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Monday.

“This was a cold-blooded and calculated attack that resulted in the tragic death of a husband and father who was simply trying to sell a used car, something people do every day of the week,” Ogg said. “By making a plea deal, we can ensure that both of these killers stay behind bars for decades.”

Terrell Derrick Funches, 23, and Dalena Nguyen, 19, were each convicted of murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison for the slaying of Altaf Hussain Malik, a 44-year-old from Richmond.

On Dec. 5, 2017, Malik left his house about 8 p.m. to meet someone who had contacted him about buying his 2009 blue Audi A8. Investigators believe he went to the Sam’s Club at Bellaire Boulevard and State Highway 6, Houston’s Chinatown district, where he met with Funches and Nguyen. The pair used a cell phone to contact Malik and arrange the meeting.

His body was found two days later, covered in trash bags in a dumpster outside an apartment complex in Houston’s Third Ward. He had been stabbed about 60 times.

Around the time he was killed, court records show, the pair googled “how to dispose of a body.”

Detectives from the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office and the Houston Police Department were able to piece together what happened. They were able to arrest Funches, who was 20, and Nguyen, who was 16, as they drove in Malik’s car.

Funches was sentenced Friday.

Nguyen, who was a juvenile at the time of the crime and was certified to stand trial as an adult, was sentenced in June 2021. The plea agreement guarantees that both killers will spend decades in jail and have given up their right to appeal, giving the victim’s family some closure, said Assistant District Attorney Lisa Calligan, who handled the case.

“Altaf Malik was a loving husband and father who will always be remembered by his family and friends as being selfless and kind,” Calligan said. “It’s heartbreaking to know his life ended so senselessly.”