Man convicted in murder of store clerk set ablaze sentenced to death

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by MARCUS MOORE & MARJORIE OWENS

Bio | Email | Follow: @MarcusMoorewfaa

WFAA

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 12:50 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 6:49 PM

DALLAS — A Garland man convicted in the death of a store clerk set ablaze and left to die was sentenced to death Friday.

A jury convicted Matthew Lee Johnson, 38, of capital murder on October 30.

Surveillance video captured footage of Johnson walk into a Garland convenience store, pour lighter fluid over 76-year-old Nancy Harris and set the fluid on fire.

Arguing against a death sentence, Johnson's defense attorney said his life was controlled by drug addiction. Prosecutors said that was no excuse for the suffering Harris endured that fatal day in May of 2012.

Harris, known as "grandma" to customers, burned for more than two minutes before a police officer spotted her and put out the fire. She died at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas less than a week after she was violently attacked.

"It will never be over," said Scott Harris, one of Harris' sons. "We still have to live with the fact that our mother is gone and she was taken from us in a horrific way." 

Relatives said justice was served in the case, but there may never be closure.

"There's nothing else we can do but remember the good times we had with her," Harris said. "Remember the Christmas' and everything we had with her is all we can do."
 

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