Shoplifter gets life in prison

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 - 12:57pm

A would-be shoplifter is facing life in prison.

The wife of the Walmart greeter who died after the shoplifter pushed him to the ground says she forgives the thief but is relieved he was sentenced to life in prison.

A jury found William Alan Kennedy guilty last week after deliberating for only about three hours.

A judge then handed him a life sentence.

Surveillance video released by prosecutors Monday shows Kennedy, 36, grabbing a $348 television and being confronted by Florence as he tries to walk out without paying.

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

Bruce Florence, 53, was a longtime greeter at the Westworth Village, Texas Walmart.

He died at the hospital nine days later.

The Tarrant County medical examiner ruled that he died from a serious liver condition, not from the fall.

Florence had been waiting for a liver transplant.

Cathey Florence said she believes her husband would be alive today if not for a head injury he received when he fell.

"I still disagree with the autopsy," she 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."

Florence said the life sentence surprised her.

"I just thought he'd get like two or three years," she said.

She said she is now ready to move on.

"I forgive him," she said. "The reason I forgive him is because he's sick with a drug habit."

Florence said she can now sleep at night knowing justice was done.

"Everybody makes mistakes in their life. Me being a Christian -- an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, that's not me."

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