Man Gets Death Penalty in Murder of Ex-Girlfriend - NBC Southern California

Man Gets Death Penalty in Murder of Ex-Girlfriend

Brandi Morales' children were awakened by their mother's screams on the night of the murder in 2011

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    Man Gets Death Penalty in Murder of Ex-Girlfriend
    Moreno Valley Police Department
    Tyrone Harts, 41, was sentenced to death Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, after a 2011 murder in which he shot his former girlfriend and lit her on fire in front of her children.

    A man who shot his former girlfriend and lit her on fire in front of her children was sentenced to death Friday, prosecutors said.

    In February 2011, Tyrone Harts, 41, killed Brandi Morales in the Los Angeles-area home she shared with her six children. Officials said Harts had previously lived there, but the couple had split up several weeks before.

    On the night of the murder, police said he called the house and spoke to her children, telling one of them to leave the sliding glass door unlocked.

    Morales’ two oldest children were awakened by their mother’s screams on Feb. 21, prompting the oldest boy to grab a kitchen knife and go to her room, officials said. Harts shot at the boy, who ran away while the other four children woke up. At the time of the murder, Morales' children ranged in age from 6 to 15.

    Fatal Fire Erupted at Home With Violations

    [LA] Fatal Fire Erupted at Home With Violations
    Candles are lit to remember those two children killed in a fire as a debate surrounds the family as to whether they were supposed to be living in the home. Michelle Valles reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.
    (Published Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014)

    The four younger children saw their mother lit on fire and attempted to put out the fire with cups of water, police said.

    Police and fire officials arrived and Morales was pronounced dead on the scene. She suffered first and second-degree burns over more than half of her body, officials said.

    Last month, Harts was convicted of one count each of murder and attempted murder, five counts of child endangerment and one count of being a felon in possession of a handgun, according to a news release from the Riverside County District Attorney’s office. The jury also found a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, making Harts eligible for the death penalty.

    The same jury Friday sentenced him to death. He is ordered to be formally sentenced on Jan. 30.

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