A man will serve 276 to 344 months in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in Wayne County Superior Court last week.
Valentin Morales-Morales, 34, of 100 Spring Drive, Dudley, pleaded to killing 22-year-old Hubaner Roberto Morales-Morales inside the Ash Street Service Center in January 2016.
Assistant District Attorney Davis Weddle said the two men knew each other and worked together, and Valentin had complained to several people that Hubaner was harassing him.
Weddle said Valentin's ex-wife was Hubaner's aunt, and the trio had lived together prior to the murder.
On the day of the killing, evidence pointed to the two men getting into a verbal argument that turned physical.
Blows were traded and the boss of the service center and an employee of the business broke it up.
Valentin walked away briefly before turning around and shooting Hubaner dead.
"Everybody says it happened in a matter of seconds," Weddle said.
Then, Valentin fled.
The murder weapon would never be recovered.
He'd been to a farm on Rodell Barrow Road the night prior asking a farmer for a job there, as Weddle said Valentin worked there in the past.
The farmer told him there was nothing available for him.
But after the murder, Valentin went back to the farm.
An employee called the farmer and told him Valentin was at the farm.
Then, the farmer's brother, who lives on the farm, called and said the boss at the service center -- who knew the farming family -- had called and told him Valentin shot someone and possibly killed him.
The farmer pulled into the farm as Valentin was leaving.
The two men stopped and talked, and the farmer urged Valentin to "come clean," Weddle said.
But he drove away.
The man got behind him and followed him while on the phone with 911.
Valentin led the man all the way to a convenience store in Stantonsburg in Wilson County.
Wilson County deputies surrounded the store, and Weddle said Valentin came out of his own accord and gave himself up.
Weddle said Valentin's attorney, Jerry Braswell, argued for a lower sentence during the plea deal, saying the prior issues between the two men and Valentin's lack of a criminal record prior to the murder mitigated the sentence.
According to court records, Valentin will be given credit toward his sentence for the 569 days in jail he has already served.