1.20.12: Harris Convicted, Sentenced for Hiring Someone to Kill His Fiance
January 20, 2012 -- Robert D. Harris was both convicted and sentenced to life in prison yesterday for hiring someone to murder his fiancé in Violetville Park sixteen years ago.
To collect on her insurance policy, Harris hired Russell Brill for $20,000 to kill his fiancé, Teresa McLeod. The plan was for Brill to make it look like a robbery as McLeod made her way to work. Brill, however, failed to follow through.
Harris then contacted Brill with a new scheme. Harris would take McLeod on a walk through Violetville Park in southwest Baltimore, during which Brill was to feign a robbery of the couple, shoot Harris in the leg for authenticity, and kill McLeod. Brill executed this time, murdering McLeod with six shots on January 26, 1996.
In 1997, Brill pled guilty to the murder and was sentenced to life in prison, with all but 30 years suspended. That same year, a jury convicted Harris, and he was sentenced to life. But Harris's conviction was overturned 12 years later, resulting in a new trial that concluded yesterday when a Baltimore City Circuit jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, solicitation to commit murder, and use of a handgun in a crime of violence.
Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Pamela White sentenced Harris, now 39 years old, to three consecutive life terms plus 20 years in prison. The sentence for first-degree murder is life without the possibility of parole.
Assistant State's Attorney Paul O'Connor prosecuted the case.