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'The cost of one life is too much': Sister of murdered Garden Ridge woman fighting for laws to protect convenience store workers

Harriett Rehman proposes to reduce store hours and or implement static transaction windows at convenience stores for after hours customers.

SAN ANTONIO — Harriett Rehman longs for the day when police arrest the man who murdered her sister Pam Smotherman more than a year ago during her overnight shift at the Garden Ridge E-Z Mart.

“You still think, even though it’s a little over a year later, you still think she’s coming home,” Rehman said. “The guy has had to have spoken to somebody and somebody has to have seen him.”

Smotherman, a beloved member of the Garden Ridge community, was shot and killed after a masked-man came into the E-Z Mart around 3 a.m. on July 29, 2020.

The suspect is seen on surveillance footage entering the convenience store holding Smotherman at gunpoint as she rushes to gather cash and lottery tickets.

What’s not shown in the police-provided video is the moment when the suspect shot Smotherman.

Rehman’s kept regular contact with Garden Ridge police detectives since her sister’s death.

“Detectives get leads, gets tips but that leads to a dead end,” Rehman said.

Rehman is consulting with an attorney to help review the investigation and to help her coordinate with state lawmakers to draft legislation aimed at protecting convenience store workers.

“We’re proposing that stores close after a certain hour, say 10 o’clock or if there is a worker inside, that they just use a teller deposit sliding box,” she said.

Rehman anticipates backlash to such a proposal, but she hopes the community understands what she’s trying to do is save lives.

“People, especially in the state of Texas want to do what they want to do and I understand that. But at the same time, the cost of one life is too much, but now it’s costed many lives and at what expense? For a few dollars? For a gallon of milk that can wait or something that you can’t get through the window? We’re not asking people to not have access to what they need. We’re just asking for them to protect the individuals they know are in there.”

Comal County Crime Stoppers is offering up $4,000 for credible tips that leads to an arrest in Pam Smotherman’s murder. The number is 1-800-640-8422.

Tips can also be provided to Garden Ridge police by calling 210-651-6441.

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