Mark Collins, Bayou Body Count No. 67

Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave.
-- Bible

It was around a quarter to 10 at night on St. Patrick's Day when Mark Collins pulled into a motel along the North Freeway, not far from George Bush Intercontinental Airport. As he exited his car, there was no way for him to know that several pairs of eyes, pressed against a room's window, were following his every step.

Inside the motel was Collins' ex-girlfriend, along with 26-year-old Aaron Stelly and Stelly's cousin, Leondray Garrison. Harris County Sheriff's spokeswoman Christina Garza said that the two guys arrived earlier in the night to visit the woman in her room.

As Collins made his way toward the motel, Garza said, Stelly and Garrison stepped outside and confronted Collins. As you might imagine, this quickly led to a fight.

Garza said that Garrison had a gun that accidentally fell onto the ground. While the brawl raged on, she said, Garrison scooped the gun up and flipped it over to Stelly, who started firing. He struck Collins and his cousin.

Authorities say that Collins died at the scene but that Stelly grabbed his cousin and rushed him to a nearby hospital. There, sheriff's deputies arrested Stelly, who allegedly confessed to the shooting. No word yet on the severity of Garrison's wound.

Stelley, who was convicted of possession of drugs with intent to sell in 2005, is currently locked up inside the Harris County hoosegow in lieu of a $60,000 bond. Investigators don't know why Collins showed up that night, but believe Stelly was motivated by the green-eyed monster himself.

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Chris Vogel
Contact: Chris Vogel