Written by Phil Cerroni
In 2000, a Dallas County jury convicted Robert Wayne Harris of capital murder for killing Agustin Villasenor and Rhoda Wheeler at the Mi-T-Fine Car Wash in Irving. Pursuant to a court order by the 282nd District Court in Dallas County, Harris was executed on Sep. 20.
On March 15, 2000, Harris engaged in sexual misconduct at the car wash in front of a female customer. The customer reported the incident to a manager, and a cashier called the police. Harris was arrested and fired. He had been an employee at Mi-T-Fine Car Wash for ten months.
On March 20, Harris returned to the car wash in a borrowed car at 7:15 a.m., before it opened for business. He forced the manager, Dennis Lee, assistant manager, Agustin Villaseñor, and cashier, Rhoda Wheeler, into the office. He instructed Wheeler to open the safe, which contained the cash receipts from the weekend. Wheeler complied and gave him the cash. Harris then forced all three victims to the floor and shot each of them in the back of the head at close range. He also slit Lee's throat.
Three other employees arrived for work unaware of the danger. Harris forced them to kneel on the floor of the lobby area and shot each of them in the back of the head from close range. One of the victims survived with permanent disabilities.
Shortly thereafter, another employee, Jason Shields, arrived. Shields had a brief exchange with Harris in which Harris claimed to have discovered the crime scene. Shields hurried to a nearby doughnut shop to call authorities. [Harris] followed Shields to the doughnut shop, also spoke to the 911 operator, then fled the scene.
Harris used the stolen money to purchase new clothing, checked into a motel, and sent a friend to purchase a gold cross necklace for him.
Testimony also showed that Harris had planned to drive to Florida on Tuesday and kill an old girlfriend.
After his arrest, Harris confessed to the abduction-slaying of an Irving woman four months before the car wash killings, and led police to the remains.
On September 29, 2000, a Dallas County jury found Harris guilty of murdering Agustin Villasenor and Rhoda Wheeler. After the jury recommended capital punishment, the court sentenced Harris to death by lethal injection.
Years before the slayings, Harris had been convicted of three burglaries and evading arrest. He spent eight years in prison mostly in administrative segregation due to several violations and aggressive behavior. Fifteen prison personnel testified regarding Harris's behavioral problems during his incarceration, which included setting fire to his cell, threatening to kill prison personnel, assaulting prison personnel and other inmates, dealing drugs, refusing to follow orders, and engaging in sexual misconduct.
Source: Texas Attorney General