A Criminal Court jury returned its verdict Thursday evening against defendant Martinez Dennis for killing Elsawy Kandel shortly before 11 a.m. on Sept. 13, 2011, at the Bargain Mart at 1560 S. Parkway East.
The holdup was captured on surveillance video at the store which Dennis had robbed just 10 days earlier.
Dennis, 22, had his face covered in the video, but he was linked to the crime when he dropped his cell phone while leaving the store.
Also, his DNA was found on the gun used in the killing and Dennis gave a statement of admission when he was arrested several weeks later.
Kandel was an Egyptian who had just bought a house in Memphis and was preparing to bring over his wife and two children.
One witness said Kandel was popular with his customers, sometimes extending credit when they could not pay for items. He briefly closed his store twice a day to pray.
After one robbery, a customer urged him to buy a gun for protection, but Kandel said he would rather risk getting shot than to have to shoot someone else.
A codefendant, Antonio Hill, 26, pleaded guilty Friday to facilitation to commit felony murder and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors said Hill held the door during the holdup and was the getaway driver.
The cases against Dennis and Hill were handled by assistant district attorneys Greg Gilbert and Lessie Rainey.
Judge Lee Coffee presided.