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Fate of Ex-Car Wash Worker Mulled

September 29, 2000

DALLAS (AP) _ The fate of a fired car wash employee convicted in the slaying of two former co-workers is in the hands of a jury.

The panel was to begin deliberating Friday whether Robert Wayne Harris should die by injection or receive life in prison for the capital murder convictions.

The same jury took less than 15 minutes Tuesday to find Harris guilty in the slayings of Mi-T-Fine Car Wash employees cashier Rhoda Wheeler, 45, and assistant manager Augustin Villasenor, 36.

The two were shot in the back of the head just three days after Harris was fired from the business.

Also killed were Villasenor’s brother, Benjamin Villasenor, 32; Roberto Jimenez Jr., 15; and 48-year-old car wash manager Dennis Lee. Harris, while charged in those slayings, has not been tried for them. He has also been charged in the unrelated death of an Irving woman.

Harris has confessed to the killings several times, although he pleaded innocent when the trial began Monday. His lawyers offered no witnesses in his defense.

On Thursday, a defense psychiatrist testified the 28-year-old Harris suffers from depression and anti-social behavior, compounded by a low IQ.

Harris’ brother, William, testified about the pair’s difficult upbringing, including the violent death of their father, who was strangled.

William Harris was questioned about the death penalty his brother may face.

``All that I would ask you to do, as Christian people, is that you do what the Lord tells you to do,″ he told jurors.

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