Church elder gets life in prison for killing wife after less than 2 years of marriage

Robert Harris, Tanisha Harris.
Elder Robert Harris and his wife Tanisha in happier times. |

A former Missouri church elder who was convicted of killing his wife after less than two years of marriage, will now spend the rest of his life in prison for his crime.

Robert Lee Harris, who served as an elder at Repairers Kansas City, a charismatic nondenominational church in Missouri, was sentenced on Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years for the killing of his 38-year-old wife, Tanisha, on Jan. 8, 2018.

Overland Park police reported that at about 4 p.m. on the day of the murder, they were called to an apartment in the 8000 block of Perry Street about a domestic disturbance. Harris was found alone in the apartment, but several hours later, he called police to report that his wife was missing. When he was further questioned, officers became suspicious and he admitted he had something to do with his wife’s disappearance. Her body was later found in a field in Raymore.

During his trial over the summer, several people gave testimony, including a young man who said he was involved in an extramarital relationship with the former church elder and Army veteran.

The young man, who publicly identified himself as Steven Junior, explained in an expletive-filled video recording on Facebook Live that the elder’s wife was his friend and he wanted justice for her.

He also accused congregants at Harris' church, where controversial Pastor Carlton Funderburke served as lead pastor, of being hypocrites.

Funderburke, who now leads Church at the Well Kansas City with his wife, was forced to apologize earlier this year after he was shown in a now-viral video clip throwing a spiritualized tantrum from the pulpit in which he called his congregation "broke, busted and disgusted" and "cheap sons and daughters" for not "honoring" him with a watch from the luxury brand Movado. 

In the aftermath of the murder, Funderburke said the couple was very involved with his church and he saw no signs their relationship was in danger.

"They were very involved, very engaged, active in the community of church. These were not regular attenders or regular parishioners. They're part of the background of what we do as a ministry. ... It's very shocking," Funderburke told the Kansas City Star.

Funderburke said outside of the church, Tanisha had worked at a bank and Robert Harris, worked at a hospital. They each had a daughter from previous marriages and Tanisha's daughter lived with the couple.

A video on Robert Harris' Facebook page, which is now restricted, shows him preaching passionately. In another post about his late wife he described her as his "favor" from God.

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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