‘He Was My Hero, My Protector': Family of Arlington Man Lit on Fire, Killed, Shares Story

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The family of an Arlington man who died after investigators say he was intentionally set on fire by his girlfriend is sharing his story as they fight for justice.

Ricky Doyle, 25, died this week after a two-week fight in the hospital.

Doyle’s little sister, Mikayla, said on July 18, Doyle and his girlfriend 24-year-old Breana Johnson were arguing outside the family’s Arlington home.

“She [Johnson] just started beating on his chest. She took his phone. She threw his phone. Then she came back and she picked his phone up, threw it at him, and then started beating his chest,” Mikayla recalled. “We knew she was abusive to him, but we didn’t see this. We didn’t know this was going to come.”

While she was on the phone with police, Mikayla said Johnson took off in her Jeep with Doyle still inside. According to an arrest warrant, Johnson and Doyle eventually stopped at a nearby gas station on Mayfield Road in Arlington where she purchased 50 cents' worth of gasoline and pumped it into the backseat of the car where Doyle was sitting and intentionally ignited it.

“Officers spoke with another witness who stated the suspect was smiling as she fled the scene,” the arrest warrant states.

This week, Arlington police announced the aggravated assault charge for Johnson will soon be upgraded to murder.

Doyle’s family said he was first taken to Medical City Arlington before being transferred to a hospital in Plano, where he was being treated for burns covering more than 90% of his body. Family said the top of his head, groin and buttocks areas, along with the bottoms of his feet were spared.

“I was so scared to touch another part because I didn’t know. I didn’t want to damage another part. I said, 'would it be OK if I touch his foot?' He [the doctor] said, 'yes go ahead,'” Doyle’s mother Lisa said. “That’s the only part of his body I could touch. That’s all that was left.”

Lisa said her son always dreamed of becoming an author.

“And the times I went and saw him in the hospital, I told him, 'you didn’t know what kind of story you wanted to tell. But this is a big one. This is a big story for you to write,'” she said. “If you hurt someone that you care about, it’s not love. It’s not love.”

Johnson is currently held at the Tarrant County Jail. It is not clear whether she has an attorney. Her family was not immediately available for comment.

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