Man gets life for killing Arlington store clerk; victim’s father says he forgives him

Courtesy of the Hightowers

A 20-year-old Tarrant County resident has been sentenced to life in prison for the 2021 killing of Arlington E-Z Mart employee Jordan Hightower.

Dorian Woodard was convicted of murder Monday morning in the Jan. 17, 2021, shooting death of Hightower during a robbery. After a deliberation of about 10 minutes in the trial’s punishment phase Monday afternoon, the jury unanimously handed down a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. They also fined Woodard $10,000.

In the closing arguments Monday afternoon, defense attorney Gary Smart said Woodard, who was 18 at the time of the killing, was struggling with an untreated mental illness, an immature brain and the results of being raised in a low-income environment.

“He has the ability to be rehabilitated,” Smart told the jury.

Matt Rivers, the prosecuting attorney, said Woodard needs to be held accountable for his actions, and life in prison is a just punishment.

“This isn’t a developmental issue,” Rivers said. “This is someone who did something evil.”

After the verdict was handed down, Walter Hightower, Jordan Hightower’s father, told Woodard that he forgives him. He said his relationship with God has given him the strength to move forward and he prays that Woodard will find God, too.

“You can still find peace and purpose for your life,” Walter Hightower told Woodard.