Jousha Routh
Photo: Fulton County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Man gets 2 life sentences for murdering Atlanta grocery store owner, employee

A Fulton County judge sentenced a man to two consecutive life sentences plus 35 years in the deaths of an Atlanta grocery store owner and an employee, according to the district attorney. 

Jousha Routh, 23, was convicted of murdering 36-year-old Saiful Bhuyia and 20-year-old Rizanul Islam in 2017. 

Bhuyia, who owned Southern Grocery on Westview Drive, and Islam had just closed the store about 11 p.m. Sept. 10, District Attorney Paul Howard said. The pair had just gotten into Bhuyia’s vehicle when a white car pulled up with its headlights off, he said. 

RELATED: Arrest made in shooting death of Atlanta grocery store owner

Prosecutors said Routh and two other suspects were inside the car. Routh got out, ran to the driver’s side of Bhuyia’s car and demanded money, Howard said. 

Bhuyia accelerated in an attempt to get away from the robbers, according to Howard. Routh then fired two shots from a .40 caliber Glock handgun through the driver’s window. He and the two suspects ran away after the shooting. 

Bhuyia was hit in the upper back and neck, Howard said. He died at the scene. Islam was struck in the head and died at Grady Memorial Hospital a few days later. 

Howard said Bhuyia, who was married and had two children, came to the United States from Bangladesh “in search of a better life.” 

“He was a well-respected business owner in his neighborhood and is missed by a large, tight-knit Bangladeshi community in Atlanta,” Howard said. 

Islam had arrived in Atlanta shortly before his death and Bhuyia had offered him a job, Howard said. 

“When the Atlanta Police Department arrived at the scene, investigators were left with little evidence as to who committed this brutal crime,” Howard said. 

Investigators searched Bhuyia’s car and found $1,400 in cash from store proceeds, Howard said. They also found Routh’s left palm print outside the vehicle, which led them to identify him as the prime suspect. 

Investigators looked at Routh’s phone records and placed him at the store shortly before the fatal shooting, Howard said. License plate reader technology led agents to the vehicle Routh and the other suspects were driving. 

Routh was later arrested by FBI officials in Ellenwood.

He was convicted of felony murder, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. 

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