\Sometimes a person’s desire to get ahead is so strong that they will do anything to reach their goal. This includes destroying any obstacles in their path that they believe are stopping them.
This mentality is all good and well, as long as you’re not hurting anyone. But one Texas couple took their desire to get ahead too far. They left a tsunami of devastation in their path…
Carter Cervantez, 25, and her younger boyfriend, Clarence “David” Mallory, 19, were working at American Eagle Outfitters in Fort Worth, Texas. Cervantez worked as an assistant manager while Mallory worked as a sales associate.
Only One Motive
Both loved their jobs and enjoyed being together, but they felt they weren’t making enough money. Their solution to that problem was to ignore all moral and ethical behavior and rob the very store that employed them and helped to put money in their pockets. They waited for the night of August 24…
Mallory waited for everyone to leave the store as he had a safe key given to him by Cervantez. It’s likely she got the key by stealing it from another assistant. The dynamic duo successfully stole $18,000 from the safe. They thought they were free and clear.
Caught On Camera
Except, there was one slight problem. They forgot about the surveillance video that the store has. While it was hard to make out the face because Mallory was wearing a mask, he was seen on camera entering the back door of the store and going directly to the store’s safe and unlocking it…
The following day, Mallory failed to show up for work which raised even more of a red flag. With all this suspicion surrounding them, their manager, Ashlea Harris was able to identify them as possible suspects in the robbery.
When Ashlea questioned Cervantez, she admitted she was the last person to exit the back door and had possibly left it unlocked. She told Harris that she did not see what the big deal was because the loss should have been covered by insurance. It was unbelievable how she was being so nonchalant about the whole thing. It raised another huge red flag…
Ashlea ultimately decided to terminate Cervantez and Mallory and she confiscated their store keys. She couldn’t risk having these thieves working at American Eagle and she never wanted anything like this to happen again. She hoped August 25 would be the last day she would see them.
Cervantez and Mallory went about their “normal lives” and pretended to get new jobs. They had no idea, however, that they were on a police watch list since the robbery and they were being monitored. They weren’t fooling anyone…
A few months later, Ashlea was scheduled to work on Thanksgiving Eve and she worked way into the night until about 3 a.m. Despite being exhausted from the Black Friday sales, Ashlea invited a friend over her apartment who arrived at about 4:40 a.m.
Something Terrible Was Going On
About three hours later at 7:30 a.m. a neighbor living below Ashlea heard a thump, screaming and heavy breathing. His carbon monoxide detector went off and water came through his ceiling from the sprinklers in Ashlea’s apartment. He immediately called police…
They Lit Her On Fire
When firefighters arrived at Ashlea’s apartment in River Ranch, they found a small fire inside the bedroom and then they saw Ashlea. Her hands and feet were bound with duct tape and her body was partially burned along with several areas of her bedroom, including her mattress.
An empty bottle of rubbing alcohol was found near her body which was face-down on the floor at the foot of the bed. It was obvious that there was severe trauma to her face, head, neck and throat. Then, police searched for more clues to lead them to who did this to Ashlea. They found her wallet open on the bathroom sink…
She Fought Back
It was clear someone was looking to rob Ashlea and Ashe must have put up a fight. Her robber wound up killing her and police questioned the neighbor to see if he could describe exactly what he saw on that terrible night.
The neighbor offered tremendous help to the police when he told them that the car parked outside of Ashlea’s apartment was a black, two-door Infiniti G35. He saw the car leave from the parking spot in front of Ashlea’s apartment with its lights off. That’s when it dawned on police…
Cervantez and Mallory were listed as the main suspects and officers checked security cameras all throughout the neighborhood, including those at American Eagle Outfitters. In the early morning hours of November 28, shortly after Ashlea was pronounced dead, Cervantez was seen on camera breaking into the store.
She used the keys stolen from Ashlea’s apartment to steal $40,000- $50,000 in Black Friday sales from the store’s safe. Police had more than enough evidence to arrest Cervantez and Mallory and they confronted them the following day…
Police Began Monitoring The Couple
On the morning of Nov. 29, police followed the couple as they drove Cervantez’s car to the Hulen Mall. Mallory dropped off Cervantez and parked outside an entrance as she went inside. Police then approached Mallory.
He was wearing a black ski mask on his head and he told police he was waiting for his girlfriend to fill out paperwork inside a store where she worked. Police were able to arrest Mallory for not having a driver’s license. Then they looked at surveillance video from inside the mall…
When police searched Cervantez’s car, they found a second ski mask in the trunk and a 9mm handgun. A guide to “lock picking” and a walkie-talkie was also found inside the car. The evidence couldn’t be more apparent and police had enough of it to issue arrest warrants.
One week after Ashlea’s death, arrest warrants for capital murder and theft were issued. Cervantez was arrested in Fort Worth and Mallory was taken into custody in Amarillo. Both are being held at the Mansfield Jail with bonds of $500,000 for murder and $100,000 for theft.