Prosecutors Push For Death Penalty In Store Clerk Murder Trial

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A Dallas jury saw new video and heard new audio as prosecutors wrapped up their final arguments in the penalty phase of a high-profile murder trial.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Matthew Johnson.

Matthew Johnson was convicted of setting a store clerk on fire during a robbery. (credit: Garland Police Department)

Matthew Johnson was convicted of setting a store clerk on fire during a robbery. (credit: Garland Police Department)

The same jury that will decide Johnson’s fate also convicted him of Capital Murder after just two hours of deliberation.

Following the conviction, Johnson took the stand admitting that he doused a 76-year-old store clerk with lighter fluid and set her on fire during a robbery at a Garland convenience store. Johnson apologized and asked the jury to spare his life.

Convenience store clerk Nancy Harris died from injuries sustained after she was set on fire during a robbery.

Convenience store clerk Nancy Harris died from injuries sustained after she was set on fire during a robbery.

Prosecutors presented today horrific images captured by squad car dash cameras in May 2012, as officers responded to the robbery call. The video showed a cloud of smoke, and recorded a conversation between Harris and an officer, where she repeatedly said, “Help me! Help me!” The images and audio were so disturbing, jurors looked away at times.

Defense attorneys have tried to paint Johnson as an otherwise good man and father, who has had a long battle with drug addiction. His mother-in-law and brother were among those to testify on his behalf.

Closing arguments are set to begin Thursday morning, and the jury will begin deliberations right after that.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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