Shoplifter faces life in prison - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shoplifter faces life in prison

WESTWORTH VILLAGE, TX (KXAS/NBC) - A would-be shoplifter is facing life in prison after an employee of the store was injured trying to stop him. The injured man died a few days after the incident.

Last summer, William Alan Kennedy, 36, took a $348 television from a Texas Walmart and tried to leave the store without paying for it. Surveillance video released by prosecutors shows that when greeter Bruce Florence, 53, tried to stop him, he threw the older man onto the ground and fled.

"He was only doing his job, you know," said Cathey Florence, Bruce's wife of 16 years.

He died nine days after he was admitted to the hospital, but the Tarrant County medical examiner ruled that his death was the result of a serious liver condition, not the fall. Bruce had been waiting for a transplant.

"I still disagree with the autopsy," Florence said. "Here I go to the hospital where he is, and I see this knot on the side of his head, his arm scraped, you know."

A jury found Kennedy guilty of shoplifting last week after deliberating for only three hours. Despite the medical examiner's findings, he was sentenced to life in prison.

"I just thought he'd get, like, two or three years," Florence said. "I forgive him. The reason I forgive him is because he's sick with a drug habit."

There was no word on if Kennedy would fight the sentence.

Copyright 2011 KXAS via NBC. All rights reserved.

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