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Murder Charge Expected Against Texas Woman Who Allegedly Pumped Gas into Backseat of Car, Set Boyfriend on Fire, and Drove Away Smiling


Breana Johnson appears in a mugshot

A North Texas woman is likely to be charged with murder now that her boyfriend has died from being set on fire late last month.

Breana Johnson, 24, currently stands accused of one count of aggravated assault over the filling station incident that, at first, severely injured 25-year-old Ricky Doyle in Arlington, Texas on July 18, 2022, a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in Tarrant County.

The defendant has been in custody since the day after the fire. The victim clung to life for just over two weeks. On Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, Doyle finally succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Collin County.

Arlington Police now say they are working with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office to upgrade Johnson’s charge to murder, according to a report by Dallas-based Fox affiliate KDFW.

Investigators with the APD believe the couple were arguing on the night in question. That argument allegedly took a turn for the worse when the defendant began pumping gas inside the backseat of the car where Doyle was sitting. Johnson then allegedly ignited the gasoline on purpose, police say, according to the TV station.

An arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram offers additional details from the perspective of law enforcement.

Violence on the fateful night allegedly began well before the fire that took Doyle’s life. The victim’s sister had earlier called police to report domestic violence because Johnson was allegedly hitting Doyle. That 911 call led police to arrive at an address not far from the gas station by 8:45 p.m. but the couple had already left, the court document says.

Doyle’s sister told police they were too late.

Minutes later, several additional 911 calls led police to the scene of the crime on East Mayfield Road. Multiple witnesses reported seeing a man on fire at the EZ Mart Shell gas station.

According to the affidavit, witnesses said the couple were audibly and visibly arguing as they arrived at the business. One person allegedly reported hearing Johnson say: “I’m going to kill you.”

After that, the affidavit says, Johnson went inside and purchased 50 cents worth of gas, pumped it into the backseat and “ignited the gasoline with an unknown object as she stood outside her vehicle.”

The affidavit goes on to detail what quickly happened next.

“Several witnesses then observed the victim quickly exit the vehicle and was completely engulfed in flames,” the court document says. “The victim ran throughout the parking lot attempting to extinguish the flames before another witness used a fire extinguisher on him. The victim walked into the gas station, where multiple witnesses attempted to render aid to the victim, who was bleeding and had skin that appeared to have melted from his body.”

Other onlookers then confronted the defendant, police say, and told her that they saw what she did and knew she did it on purpose. The woman then allegedly got back into her SUV and fled.

According to Fort Worth-based NBC affiliate KXAS, one witness, a would-be Good Samaritan, attempted to “detain” Johnson as she left the gas station but was pushed down by the defendant.

The Star-Telegram reports that one witness saw Johnson “smiling as she drove away.”

Arlington Police say they were able to corroborate the witness testimony with surveillance footage from the gas station.

According to jail records reviewed by Law&Crime, Johnson has yet to be charged with Doyle’s murder as of this writing. She is currently being detained in the Tarrant County Corrections Center on the aggravated assault with a deadly weapons charge on $50,000 bond.

The defendant is currently slated to appear in court on Aug. 10, 2022.

[image via Tarrant County Jail]

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