Irving car wash murderer executed 12 years after the crime

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WFAA

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 20 at 10:20 PM

IRVING – More than 12 years after confessing to killing five former coworkers at an Irving car wash, Robert Wayne Harris was executed in Huntsville Thursday at 6:43 p.m.

Harris told his family, "I'm going home. I'm going home, y'all. You don't have to worry about me."

He did not mention his crimes or the victims before he was executed.

His final words were, "God bless," followed by "Texas Rangers, Texas Rangers."

It was unclear what Harris meant by the references to the Rangers.

The families of some victims weren't happy that the focus was on Harris, and not his crimes.

"I'm mad," said Charity McFadden, one victim's daughter. "It was... Too easy. Too easy of a way out. Too easy of a way to die. I mean, everyone wants to die like that -- you lay down on a table and you get to go to sleep."

About an hour before he was set to die, the U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal. The execution continued as scheduled.

Harris, 40, confessed to opening fire on March 20, 2000 at the Mi-T-Fine car wash, killing Rhoda Wheeler, 46; Dennis Lee, 48, the wash’s assistant manager; Agustin Villaseñor, 36; his brother Benjamin Villaseñor, 32; and Roberto Jimenez Jr., 15. He was 28 at the time and was convicted for two of the five killings. 

“[Harris] broke up a family,” Charity McFadden, Wheeler’s daughter, told News 8’s Jonathan Betz earlier this week. “She was the glue that held our family together.”

Harris was fired from his job at the car wash for masturbating in a bathroom. He said he returned to ask for his job back and snapped. 

Prosecutors argued why, if this was the case, did Harris bring a gun along with him? Why did he take $3,000 from a safe at the car wash? They argued he planned the massacre. 

Harris will be the state’s eighth prisoner to be executed this year. He had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to block the execution. He wasn't  fighting for his innocence –– in appeals, his lawyer has argued that Harris was mentally impaired at the time of the shooting. 

The nation’s highest court has a ban on executing mentally impaired people. 

News 8’s Betz is witnessing the execution and will be alongside the victims' families Thursday evening. Follow him on Twitter here.

Here’s an AP story published this morning with more details about the crimes and Betz’s report from Tuesday, which focused on the struggle the victims' families still face on a daily basis.


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