Bob Harris Murder: What Happened to Colleen Harris?

Image Credit: Jo C/Find a Grave

Bob Harris was gunned down in his own house in 2013, leading to the police investigating the murder case and uncovering some disturbing secrets of Bob’s personal life. The echo of the gun reverberated across the community and instilled a sense of fear and shock in everyone, especially his loved ones. In ‘Evil Stepmothers: A Murder You Can’t Ignore,’ the viewers are taken through the journey of Bob’s life, showcasing the circumstances surrounding his tragic demise and its aftermath, including the devastating impact it left on his family and friends, as talked about in the exclusive interviews through the episode.

Bob Harris’ Lifeless Body Was Found in His House

Robert Edward Harris had spent most of his early life in the San Francisco Bay area in California. Born on February 3, 1940, he had a great childhood since he was surrounded by the love and support of his family and other loved ones. Fondly referred to as Bob, those who know him described him as a compassionate and kind man with not one mean bone in his body. Since an early age, Bob was an outdoorsman and enjoyed fishing, hiking, skiing, and other activities that revolved around nature. Accordingly, he chose a career in the US Department of Agriculture and particularly enrolled himself in the United States Forest Service as an adult.

Image Credit: Caution/Find a Grave

Over his 30-year career in the Forest Service, Bob wore many hats and earned praise for his contribution to his work. He had served as the Forest Engineer in the Tahoe National Forest, Forest Supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, and ultimately, the Acting Eldorado National Forest Supervisor of the Tahoe Basin before retiring in 1997. In his downtime, he donned the cap of an umpire for several little leagues and semi-professional baseball games. He also engaged in volunteer work for environmental preservation, which sometimes required him to travel to Mongolia.

On the personal front, he was a doting father to his three kids — Noah, Bethany, and Hayden (names changed) — whom he shared with his wife, Rose (name changed). After several years of a happy married life, the couple began facing several challenges in their relationship. One thing led to another, and they decided to get a divorce but continued to remain friends and co-parent their kids cordially. After their official split, Bob embarked upon several adventures as a single father. In the late 1980s, in El Dorado County, California, he stumbled upon a familiar face — Colleen Batten, with whom he had gone on a few dates in middle school.

The two rekindled their romance and tied the knot on September 2, 1990. Colleen shared a similar history as Bob; she had been married twice before and had kids of her own. For her, Bob moved into Placerville, California, and lived with Colleen on the vast property she had inherited after the death of her second husband, James Batten. Apart from getting a divorce (and eventual remarriage) in 2004 to avail social services benefits upon the insistence of Colleen, the two seemed to be happy.

However, on the evening of January 6, 2013, El Dorado County officials received a call reporting a death in the Placerville residence of the Harrises. They reached their home only to find his 70-year-old wife Colleen, who directed them to the body of 72-year-old Robert Edward Harris, AKA Bob, who lay dead on his bed. The authorities spotted blood splatters around Bob and on the walls and floor of the room, as well as a double-barrel shotgun near him. After some deliberation over it being a case of suicide or homicide, it was determined that Bob Harris died of a gunshot wound, and a murder investigation was launched by the authorities.

Jealousy Drove Bob Harris’ Wife to Kill Him

When the investigators began the interrogation process, Bob Harris’ wife, Colleen, turned out to be the prime suspect in the case. So, the police decided to look into the history of Colleen Harris, who was Colleen Batten before marrying Bob. Prior to her marriage with Bob, she had married twice. When her first husband, who worked in a surveying company, passed away, she tied the knot with James Batten. However, he was found dead in his home on July 27, 1985. On charges of first-degree murder, Colleen was arrested and taken to court.

During the trial, the defense claimed that it was an act of self-defense, that she had amnesia, and that James was sexually abusive towards her. As the jury found her not guilty, her attorneys managed to get an acquittal for Colleen. According to reports, Bob was aware of the entire debacle from his wife’s past, but he did not find it alarming. Instead, he defended Colleen and told his close ones that she had a tough life and did what she had to do to defend herself. The authorities also found out that Bob and Colleen’s marriage was on the brink of breaking, as the former was unhappy and wanted to get divorced.

Moreover, in June 2012, he went on a trip to Mongolia for conservation projects for the Tahoe Baikal Institute in Mongolia, where he began an affair with a 34-year-old woman named Aza. A few months later, in September 2012, Colleen was told about the affair by her son, whose wife found out about it. For obvious reasons, Colleen was frantic and filled with rage when she heard about her husband’s adultery. Until the situation got better and her anger got under control, Bob decided to stay alone at a cabin he owned as he began fearing how Colleen would react to the whole situation.

When she suffered from some health complications, he moved back with her in their Wilderness Way home, and things seemed to be going fine between them until he got a call from Aza on January 5, 2013, and she overheard the conversation. On January 6, 2013, in a fit of rage and jealousy, Colleen reportedly took out her 12-gauge shotgun and fired it at her sleeping husband’s left ear, blowing his face out. Although she denied remembering shooting Bob, the police arrested and charged her with first-degree murder.

Colleen Harris Died While Serving Her Sentence

More than a couple of years after Bob Harris’ murder, Colleen Harris stood on trial in March 2015. The prosecutors and defense put forward their respective arguments for five weeks before the jury finally reached a verdict on April 14 — 73-year-old Colleen was found guilty of the charges against her. On June 5, 2015, she was sentenced to 50 years to life in prison, with the possibility of parole after five decades. She would be around 120 years old around the time she becomes eligible for parole. After serving about seven years of her sentence, Colleen Harris passed away in prison in July 2022 at the age of 80.

Read More: Angela “Mischelle” Lawless Murder: Where is Joshua Kezer Now?