ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis gas station clerk was charged Wednesday with murdering a customer in September after believing the customer had tried to steal a $1.10 bag of candy, charges say.
Taleb Rebhi Ali Jawher, 39, of the first block of Colchester Drive in Ferguson, was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the Sept. 26 shooting death of Christopher Simmons.
Simmons, 34, of the 4200 block of Shenandoah Avenue, was fatally shot outside a Phillips 66 gas station about 9 p.m., police said. Police found Simmons dead outside the store entrance at 2800 North Florissant Avenue in the city's Old North St. Louis neighborhood.
Police said Simmons and Jawher had been in an argument inside the store, and Simmons left. Jawher followed him outside, police said. There, they got into another argument, police say, and the clerk shot Simmons.
Charges say Simmons "did not steal or leave the store with candy" and that Jawher followed Simmons outside the store and shot him in the back of the head as Simmons walked toward his car.
"We're just trying to find some peace," Simmons' mother, Dorothy Simmons, 67, said. "He was a wonderful young man who was taken from us too soon."
Simmons declined to comment further Wednesday night.
St. Louis Associate Circuit Judge Barbara Peebles set Jawher's bail at $1 million cash. Charges indicated no known convictions for Jawher. Court records show a pending illegal parking case against him from Pine Lawn municipal court.
According to a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Jawher, who is originally from Jordan, was arrested Sept. 28 for "immigration violations."
"He entered the U.S. legally in 2007 but overstayed his visit by several years," said Shawn Neudauer, an ICE public affairs officer. "He also has repeatedly provided fraudulent documentation to federal authorities in previous immigration dealings. Upon arrest he was placed in removal proceedings."
Neudauer said an immigration judge granted Jawher bail and ordered him released from ICE custody on Oct. 18.
Nassim Benchaabane of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.