An assistant manager at an American Eagle Outfitter store in Fort Worth, Texas, was reportedly bound, beaten and burned to death by co-workers who wanted to steal her store keys so they could pilfer Black Friday earnings.
Ashlea Harris, 31, was allegedly beaten, strangled and then set on fire by Carter Cervantez, 25, and her 19-year-old boyfriend, Clarence "David" Mallory, both of whom have been charged with capital murder, reports the Daily Mail. The incident took place on Nov. 28 after Harris had returned to her apartment from a late-night shift at the store.
A few hours after she returned home, a fire alarm went off in the building and first responders discovered Harris’ body in her apartment. A neighbor later said she heard a thump and scream coming from her apartment.
Cervantez and Mallory had reportedly worked at the same store, but were fired the summer before the incident. Police say that they tracked the couple down and followed them after learning that the two had allegedly stolen $18,000 from the American Eagle store's safe.
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The day after Harris was murdered, police followed the couple to Hulen Mall, reports 9 News. They say Mallory dropped Cervantez off outside the mall and then parked and went inside. When cops confronted Mallory, who was wearing a black ski mask on his head, he reportedly told them he was waiting for his girlfriend, who he said had to fill out paperwork at a store. He was arrested for driving without a license.
Cervantez, meanwhile, was reportedly caught on a surveillance camera trying to break into the American Eagle store, but its locks had already been changed.
When they searched the couple’s vehicle, police reportedly found another ski mask in the trunk, a 9mm handgun, a book on “lock picking” and a walkie talkie.
Cervantez and Mallory are both being held at the Mansfield Jail with bonds of $500,000 for murder and $100,000 for theft.