Robert Alton Harris (January 15, 1953 – April 21, 1992) was an American criminal and murderer who was executed at San Quentin State Prison in 1992 in connection with the 1978 murders of two teenage boys in San Diego. His execution was the first in the state of California since 1967.
Harris was born in North Carolina and was abused as a child. He had run-ins with law enforcement as early as age 10, and was first placed into juvenile detention at age 13 for stealing a car. His mother abandoned him at age 14 and soon after he was again placed into juvenile detention after stealing another car. Following his release he found work, married, and had a son, but in 1975 he was imprisoned for manslaughter; he was paroled in January 1978.
On July 5, 1978, Harris and his younger brother commandeered a car occupied by two 16-year-old boys, John Mayeski and Michael Baker, ordered them to drive to a remote area, then killed them. The brothers then used the boys' car as their getaway car when they robbed a San Diego bank. Harris was arrested less than an hour after the robbery and charged with murder, auto theft, kidnapping, burglary, and bank robbery. Ironically, one of the arresting officers, Steve Baker, was a father of one of the murdered boys, but did not realize that fact until later. Robert Harris was convicted and sentenced to death on March 6, 1979. After a series of appeals and stays of execution, Harris was executed in San Quentin's gas chamber on April 21, 1992.
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