Sentencing Continues for Man Who Set Garland Clerk on Fire

Tuesday, Nov 5, 2013  |  Updated 8:48 PM CDT
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Jurors delivered testimony on Tuesday in the trial of a Garland man convicted of setting 76-year-old Nancy Harris on fire and killing her during a convenience store robbery last year.

Lindsay Wilcox, NBC 5 News

Jurors delivered testimony on Tuesday in the trial of a Garland man convicted of setting 76-year-old Nancy Harris on fire and killing her during a convenience store robbery last year.

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Garland Man Asks for Mercy in Clerk Murder Trial

Matthew Johnson took the stand in the penalty phase of his capital murder trial. He was convicted of setting a store clerk on fire during a robbery. Johnson said he deserves to die for the crime but asked for mercy.

Sentencing Continues for Man Who Set Garland Clerk on Fire

Prosecutors continue to seek the death penalty for a North Texas man convicted of capital murder for setting a clerk on fire as he robbed her Garland convenience store.
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Prosecutors continue to seek the death penalty for a North Texas man convicted of capital murder for setting a clerk on fire as he robbed her Garland convenience store.

The Dallas County jury is hearing testimony on what punishment to give to 38-year-old Matthew Johnson. The jury last week returned a guilty verdict for the May 2012 death of Nancy Harris.

On Monday, Johnson took the stand on his own behalf, trying to save his life.

"I just want to live long enough to see my girls grow up," he said. "I put myself and family in a bad situation and the victim's families. I feel like a coward. I have my day of redemption, and I ask forgiveness from the victims families and for the court to have mercy."

Johnson is married and has three daughters, ages 15, 11 and 3.

Jurors can choose between death or life imprisonment without parole for Johnson, who admitted to police that he killed the 76-year-old Harris.

Johnson poured lighter fluid on Harris as she stood behind the store counter and set her on fire after she had opened the register for him.

Harris suffered burns over 40 percent of her body and died days later.

NBC 5's Eric King contributed to this report.

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