There was no motive for the horrific torture murder of Nancy Harris, an elderly Dallas grandmother. To call it “a robbery” is an insult to the victim and her family. The perpetrator simply did for the fun of it.
If the races had been reversed, this would have been the single biggest news story in the United States. Instead it was a “hush crime.” The story was quarantined to local media and websites such as this one.
Jurors on Monday were shown the horrific moment a 76-year-old Dallas grandmother and convenience store clerk was doused in lighter fluid and set on fire during an early morning hold-up.
On the first day of the capital murder trial of Matthew Johnson, one member of the jury covered his mouth and another rubbed his hands together as they watched Nancy Harris frantically try to extinguish the fire that would ultimately kill her.
The shocking surveillance footage came as Harris’ distraught son, Scott Harris, described in testimony the heartbreak he felt as he was told while getting ready for church that his mother had suffered burns to 40 per cent of her body in the senseless attack. She died several days later.
‘She could not communicate,’ Scott Harris said, adding that his mother was sedated.
Johnson, 38, has confessed to the senseless slaying of the mother-of-four on a Sunday morning in May 2012, Garland police say.
Prosecutors are pushing for the death sentence in the disturbing case.The footage, from a surveillance camera at the Fina Whip-In at the corner of Broadway and Colonel Drive in Garland, shows Johnson pour lighter fluid from a water bottle over Harris’ head.
Before he set her alight, he stood behind her taking cigarettes and a lighter as she opened the cash register.
However, as she struggles to open it, Johnson attempts to pull a ring off her right hand but it won’t budge. He licks his finger and tries again but it still won’t move.
He tries once more, this time successfully. He is then seen walking away from the store as an orange glow becomes visible behind him.
The video shows Harris on fire for more than two minutes, according to Dallasnews.com.
She desperately tries to put out the fire in a sink but when she cannot she walks outside to call for help.
According to testimony, two police officers who spotted the blaze and heard Harris’ screams used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire.