Couple Murders Store Manager Who Got Them Fired As Part Revenge, Part Black Friday Heist

Ashlea Ann Harris was born in 1983, and grew up in the Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas area.

By the time she was in her 20’s, Ashlea worked her way up to assistant manager of American Eagle at Hulen Mall. She loved working in retail, and meeting new people.

Ashlea Harris

 

The Murder

On November 28, 2014, a call came into the Ft. Worth Fire Department. The caller said that there was a fire at the River Ranch Apartments, and that he believed it was coming from the apartment above him.

One of Ashlea’s friends, Jeff, ran to Ashlea’s apartment to check on her. He was let in by one of the maintenance workers. Ashlea’s dog was there, and ran out, but there was no answer when they called out to Ashlea. Jeff left the apartment because it was too smokey.

When the fire department arrived, they found Ashlea in her bedroom. Ashlea’s hands and feet were bound, but it was clear the fire hadn’t killed her. Ashlea had trauma to her head and neck, and there was blood everywhere.

Ashlea was positively identified after her drivers license was found nearby. The fire department called in the Ft. Worth police.

Ashlea’s Last Movements

There was no sign of a struggle in the living room of the apartment, and there was no sign of forced entry. Jeff revealed to the police that the door had been locked when he arrived.

The arson experts had determined that the accelerant that had been used was rubbing alcohol, which isn’t very flammable.

Ashlea’s white Ford pickup truck was still parked outside, but her keys to the truck were missing. The police believed that whoever had killed Ashlea had locked the door when they left.

The police spoke to Ashlea’s friend, Alexis, who had arrived at the scene. Alexis said that Ashlea had been working around the clock preparing for Black Friday. Alexis said she went to Ashlea’s around 3am, as she had been watching the dog while Ashlea worked. Ashlea’s plans had been to sleep for a few hours, and return to work around 7 or 8am. Alexis said she left at 4:45am, and heard Ashlea lock the door behind her.

Alexis also told the police where Ashlea usually kept her work and truck keys. The police now knew that both sets were missing.

The Suspicious Car

A break came when one of Harris’ neighbors told police that on the morning of the murder, he noticed a black, two-door Infiniti parked in the apartment complex’s parking lot which didn’t belong to any of the residents. Harris’ boss told investigators the car was similar to a vehicle owned by former American Eagle Outfitters employee Carter Cervantes.

Carter had been a manger at an American Eagle in Amarillo before she transferred to the Ft. Worth store. Carter had became involved in a relationship with a 19-year-old named David Mallory. Carter and David’s relationship was frowned upon, so Carter was given the option to transfer. David never showed up for work again in Amarillo, and was put on do not hire again list.

Carter had been a manger at an American Eagle in Amarillo before she transferred to the Ft. Worth store. Carter had became involved in a relationship with a 19-year-old named David Mallory. Carter and David’s relationship was frowned upon, so Carter was given the option to transfer. David never showed up for work again in Amarillo, and was put on do not hire again list.

David Mallory and Carter Cervantez

Ashlea’s autopsy report revealed that whoever had killed her was very angry. Ashlea’s cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force trauma to the head and neck. Ashlea had been cut in the head, stomped, and had ligature marks on her neck. Ashlea had died shortly before the murder was set.

“This was somebody who killed her out of anger. This was torture,” prosecutor Kevin Rousseau said that.

Police tracked Cervantes and Mallory to an apartment near the Hulen Mall. In the parking lot was a black two-door infiniti like the one seen at the crime scene.

Fort Worth Police Detective Jerry Cedillo was staking out the apartment on the morning of November 29 when he saw Cervantes and Mallory get in her car and drive to the Hulen Mall. Cedillo went to the American Eagle store where Harris’ boss was waiting for the owners to open up.

Following Harris’ murder, the locks had been changed and the Black Friday proceeds were still inside.

The Evidence

The police obtained a search warrant for David and Carter’s apartment. Inside, they found some receipts. On November 21, Carter had purchased a “murder kit,” two shovels, rope, gloves, a tarp, and duct tape.

In Carter’s car, the police found a loaded Glock, several knives, and David and Carter’s cell phones. In David’s car, they found the shovels, and bungee cords, and a tarp.

Ashlea’s blood had also been found on the floor mat of Carter’s car. It had been transferred from David’s boot.

The police were able to compare a star shaped injury behind Ashlea’s ear and on the bridge of her nose to the Glock. The injuries were consistent with her having been pistol whipped.

The Convictions

At Carter’s trial, her defense tried to claim that David controlled her, and was the true mastermind behind the robbery and murder.

On May 26, 2016, Carter Cervantez was convicted of murder. She was sentenced to life in prison. The police believe she was the mastermind.

In 2017, David Mallory was also convicted, and sentenced to life without parole.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I think both Carter and David are both just as responsible as the other. Carter was probably more upset that they were fired after they were caught. Ashlea was just doing her job, and reported the robbery as any good manager would do. Ashlea probably had no idea that they would hurt her, but they did in such a brutal way. At least justice has been served, and they will rot in prison for the rest of their lives.

 

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