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Trial Begins For Suspect Accused Of Lighting Elderly Clerk On Fire

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The capital murder trial begins on Monday for the man accused of setting an elderly convenience store clerk on fire in May of last year.

The suspect, 38-year-old Matthew Johnson, is accused of setting 76-year-old Nancy Harris on fire during an attempted robbery at a Fina gas station in Garland.

Harris was able to provide police with a good description of her attacker before dying from her injuries five days later.

When Garland police arrived on the scene, they reported seeing a flash and watched as the victim stepped outside while on fire. Detectives say she was doused with a liquid and intentionally set on fire. Police helped to extinguish Harris with a fire extinguisher.

johnson matthew lee Trial Begins For Suspect Accused Of Lighting Elderly Clerk On Fire

Matthew Lee Johnson, 36, is accused of setting a store clerk on fire during a robbery. (Credit: Garland PD)

Police believe Johnson is responsible for this crime and a number of other thefts.

According to investigators, Johnson was arrested after they received numerous calls about a man trying to break into residential houses near the gas station.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Opening statements begin at the Frank Crowley Courts Building at 9 a.m. on Monday.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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