Pictures of tools that could be used to pick locks, the front cover of the book Practical Lock Picking, and an armored car parked in front of Hulen Mall were displayed for the jury on Tuesday in a capital murder trial.
Defendant Carter Cervantez sent those and other images in text messages to her co-defendant, David Mallory, Fort Worth police digital forensic specialists testified.
They are accused of killing Ashlea Ann Harris, 31, on Nov. 28, 2014 — the day after Thanksgiving and the retail promotional day known as Black Friday.
Police testified last week that they believe Cervantez, 27, and Mallory, 21, beat and bound Harris and set her body on fire to steal her keys to the American Eagle Outfitters store where she worked because they intended to steal from the store for the second time.
Mallory and Cervantez had also worked at the store but had been fired. Cervantez and Harris were assistant managers at the store. Mallory and Cervantez lived together, according to testimony.
Police testified that they believe Cervantez and Mallory were responsible for the theft of nearly $18,000 from the store on Aug. 24, 2014, the final week of back-to-school sales.
Other photographs on Cervantez’s phone included Harris’ apartment building, a handgun with an extended clip, a ski mask and a second set of tools, Detective Chris Fearneyhough testified Tuesday.
Prosecutor Ashley Deener asked Fearneyhough how he believed the tools might be used. “I would assume they are for picking a lock,” he replied.
Prosecutors say Cervantez suffocated Harris and hit her head with an object. The charge was elevated from murder to capital murder because the death came in the course of committing robbery and/or retaliation, authorities say.
Cervantez pleaded not guilty. Mallory is also charged with capital murder. His trial is pending. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty against either defendant.
Testimony is expected to continue Wednesday in state District Judge David Hagerman’s 297th District Court.