Murder Charge Added Against Accused Shoplifter

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Deputies in Tampa say they have added a murder charge against a Target shoplifter whose struggle with a store security guard led to the guard’s fatal heart attack.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter said the third-degree murder charge against 35-year-old Mervin Bettis was added this week. He had previously been charged with robbery and battery on a person 65 or older.

According to Carter, the incident took place on May 27 when 65-year-old uniformed security guard Russell J. Horner and a loss-prevention agent tried to help stop Bettis from the leaving the store with a cart full of merchandise he hadn’t paid for. The three struggled for around 4 minutes before Bettis was handcuffed.

Several minutes later, Horner, a retired police officer, collapsed and died.

Source: Associated Press