Eric Toney, who is running for Attorney General as a Republican, is on the front lines prosecuting homicide cases.
District Attorney Eric J. Toney announced on Aug. 25, 2022, that Robert Harris was found guilty of First Degree Reckless Homicide for a fentanyl overdose death in the City of Fond du Lac, in which he was accused of injecting a woman with the drug at a rooming house.
The case was investigated by the City of Fond du Lac Police Department and prosecuted by Toney.
Harris faces up to 40 years of prison confinement and/or a fine up $100,000 for the May 31, 2020 death. A pre-sentence investigation was ordered by the Court and the sentencing hearing is scheduled November 21, 2022 at 2:30 p.m., Toney said in a press release.
“Fentanyl and opioids are killing people at historic rates and destroying families in communities across Wisconsin,” Toney said.
“We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute those that deliver poison into our community to hold them accountable and keep our streets safe. I encourage anyone that knows a loved one suffering from opioid addiction to reach out for help within your community or to local law enforcement because it might save a life.”
Robert Harris Fond du Lac Criminal Complaint
You can read the criminal complaint here: Criminal Complaint_1 – Harris, Robert L; 2020CF000734; Harris, Robert L_…
According to the criminal complaint:
On May 31, 2020, at approximately 2:43 a.m. officers with the City of Fond du Lac Police Department were dispatched to Robert Harris’s rooming house located at 177 W. 2nd Street, Room #8 in the City and County of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin for a report of a drug overdose.
Victim 1 was described as an adult female that was not breathing and a female subject was attempting CPR on Victim 1. Harris and a witness were in the room. Asked what substance the victim had ingested, Harris did not respond.
The office noticed a mirror with a brown substance that appeared to have been crushed partially into powder. It field tested positive for fentanyl. A syringe was found in the folds of the victim’s shirt.
Harris stated that he is friends with Victim 1 and has known her for approximately 5 years.
“Robert Harris stated that Victim 1 was in his room for approximately 2 minutes and pulled out the pill bottle and injected a substance from the bottle into what he believed to be Victim 1’s right arm,” the complaint says.
“Harris also stated that Victim 1 was crushing the substance onto the mirror, which was located by Officer Martin. Harris stated that Victim 1 began mumbling shortly after that and then was unconscious.”
He claimed he did not know where she obtained the drugs. Narcan was administered by nasal spray, and it took 10-15 minutes for anyone to call 911 after she went unconscious.
She was pronounced deceased.
A second witness said others were in the room and one witness commented that “they need to get the needles and everything else out of here.”
A witness told police that Robert Harris is a heroin user and a “middle man.” He denied this.
On June 1, 2020, Robert Harris came to police department and spoke with Detective Vandermolen. Harris described his personal life, circumstances at the rooming house and Victim 1.
Harris stated that he believed Victim 1 obtained heroin from the rooming house and overdosed before coming into his room. Vandermolen challenged Harris stating that Harris previously stated Victim 1 used the heroin in his room.
Harris stated he never got heroin directly from two other people. Vandermolen asked if Harris got heroin from someone else in the rooming house and Harris then responded that he obtained heroin from another man.
The complaint continued to allege:
Vandermolen continued discussing with Harris how Victim 1 obtained the heroin. Harris stated that he was thinking there was a bad batch of heroin. Robert Harris denied getting heroin for Victim 1 on May 31 but admitted to providing heroin to Victim 1 in the past.
On June 3, 2020, Detective Vandermolen interviewed Witness 4. During this interview Witness 4 admitted that Victim 1 overdosed at the rooming house two weeks prior to the May 31 overdose death and that Witness 4 was present for both overdoses.
Witness 4 stated that she walked into Robert Harris’s room and saw Harris holding Victim 1 one up and she told him to lay her down and Victim 1 was given Narcan twice but the Naracan wasn’t effective.
Witness 4 stated Victim 1 was purple when she entered the room. Witness 4 stated she then grabbed her items, including a Kwik Trip bag and left.
Witness 4 stated that Harris sent her messages related to the overdose but she had deleted them off her phone. Witness 4 stated that she learned Victim 1 transitioned from snorting heroin to injecting it.
Witness 4 also indicated that most everything is laced with fentanyl now. Witness 4 also stated that heroin was her drug of choice.
On August 24 Detective Vandermolen reviewed messages between Witness 4 and Robert Harris. Some of the messages were partial conversation and on June 1, 2020 Witness 4 sent a message to Harris:
“Someone else might tho. Sh*t I didn’t even know u did. I thought she brought it from somewhere else. I got woke up to the sh*t I was in a completely different room and got woke up to that sh*t. They are saying she was dead for 2 hours before you guys called 911. So that means (another man) didn’t wake me up in the room down the hall asking for Narcan until 2 hours after she died!!! WTF man.”
The message implies that Harris sold Victim 1 the drugs leading to Victim 1’s death, the complaint said.
Detective Vandermolen noted other messages associated with Harris indicating drug dealing activity by Robert Harris.
In August of 2020 Detective Vandermolen received the autopsy protocol report and toxicology which states Victim 1’s manner of death as an accident and the Cause of Death is listed as Cocaine, Ethanol, and Fentanyl Toxicity.
On September 1, 2020 Detective Vandermolen spoke with Witness 5 at the Fond du Lac County Jail. Witness 5 stated her memory was blotchy from the night of Victim 1’s death and that she smokes crack.
Witness 5 stated she met Victim 1 for the first time the night of her death and Victim 1 appeared to be the happiest person Witness 5 had ever met. Witness 5 stated she watched Victim 1 come into Robert Harris’s room and heard Victim 1 ask Harris something similar to “you got some sh*t?” and Harris stated “yeah.”
Victim 1 asked Harris what he had and Harris responded that he had “boi” which is a slang term for heroin. Witness 5 stated Robert Harris injected the heroin into Victim 1’s body.
Witness 5 stated that approximately 10 minutes after the injection Victim 1 was sitting on the floor. Witness 5 then heard Victim 1 making unusual gurgling or respiratory noises.
Witness 5 stated that she approached Victim 1 and tried to put her head up and noted that is blue and Witness 5 didn’t believe Victim 1 was breathing. Witness 5 stated she wanted to leave but Robert Harris wasn’t allowing her to leave. Witness 5 stated that Witness 6 showed up and approached Victim 1 on the floor and lifted her head.
Witness 6 said 911 needed to be called but Harris said they couldn’t call the cops. Witness 5 stated she was able to leave the room and started banging on doors in the rooming house until finally someone opened their door and called 911 for Victim 1.
Victim 5 stated “she was waiting in the rooming house for someone to bring cocaine and observed Harris and a white guy shooting up heroin.” While waiting for the cocaine Victim 1 showed up to the rooming house. W
itness 5 stated she didn’t know how much heroin Harris cooked up but knows he does a “whole f*cking needle.” Witness 5 stated she normally doesn’t talk with law enforcement but seeing Victim 1 dead under these circumstances traumatized her.
Officer Vokes and Detective Vandermolen confronted Robert Harris about the messages with Witness 4 and if Harris was using drugs that night. Harris stated that he knows Witness 4 and messages with her a lot but claimed he was not using drugs the night of Victim 1’s death.
Harris stated that Victim 1 injected the heroin herself. Vandermolen confronted Harris about him injecting the heroin into Victim 1’s hand.
Harris stated that he didn’t know what Witness 4 was getting in the conversation alleging Harris provided the drugs to Victim 1 leading to her death. Harris stated he only provided Victim 1 a mirror and water and that Victim 1 used a tin to get the heroin ready.