Friday, September 21, 2012

Texas executes killer of five

The 29th Execution of 2012

Robert Wayne Harris, who confessed to killing five people at a Dallas-area car wash a week after he was fired, was executed on September 20, 2012 less than two hours after the U.S. Supreme Court refused his appeal to halt the execution.

“I’m going home. I’m going home,” Harris said, reported the Associated Press. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be alright. God bless, and the Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers.”

He was pronounced dead at 6:43 p.m., 25 minutes after the lethal dose of pentobarbital began, making him the eighth Texas inmate executed in the nation’s most active capital punishment state.
Harris was convicted of two of the five slayings in March 2000 at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash in Irving. He also was charged with abducting and killing a woman months before the killing spree and led police to her remains.

Harris didn’t deny the slayings, but his lawyer contended in appeals he was mentally impaired and should be spared because of a Supreme Court ban on execution of mentally impaired people.

Harris had been working at the car wash for about 10 months when he was fired and arrested after exposing himself to a female customer. The following Monday he showed up before the business was to open, demanded the safe be opened and then shot the manager, the assistant who had fired Harris and a cashier.

Three more employees reporting to work also were shot, two of them fatally. When another worker arrived, Harris explained he just had stumbled upon the bloody scene. But when Harris pulled a knife, the worker said he was feeling uneasy and left. The worker called 911, and Harris was arrested the next day.

Greg Davis, the former Dallas County assistant district attorney who was the lead trial prosecutor, said this week. “I remember just the vicious nature of the offense and the fact it was very well thought-out and conceived by Robert Harris. Guilt is just crystal clear.”

One of Harris’ trial lawyers acknowledged that.

“No question at all,” Brad Lollar said. “Our whole aim was to get him a life sentence. ... I keep hoping. I’m hoping something will come through for Robert.”

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