Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Clara Harris convicted of murder
The Dallas Morning News ^ | February 13, 2003 | By DAVID McLEMORE / The Dallas Morning News

Posted on 02/13/2003 8:19:06 AM PST by MeekOneGOP

Clara Harris convicted of murder

02/13/2003

By DAVID McLEMORE / The Dallas Morning News

HOUSTON –The woman who ran down her philandering husband with a Mercedes-Benz after catching him at a hotel with his mistress was convicted of murder Thursday by a jury that rejected her claim she was aiming for his lover's car.

Clara Harris stood stoically as the verdict was read, her lawyer's arms around her. The 45-year-old dentist faces up to life in prison when she is sentenced, though the punishment could be reduced if jurors decide she acted with "sudden passion."

Jurors, two of whom cried when state District Judge Carol Davies read the verdict, deliberated about eight hours over two days.

Court was to reconvene later Thursday morning for the sentencing phase.

In closing arguments, defense attorney George Parnham took jurors through the mind of the Houston-area dentist who killed her orthodontist husband by driving over him after she caught him with another woman.

"In one week, she spiraled down from a life of dignity and self-respect to the knowledge that her neighbors and everyone else knows her husband was being unfaithful," Mr. Parnham said. "Didn't she react like any woman would act?"

Also Online
Video: Watch the judge deliver the verdict

Harris County prosecutor Mia Magness, however, urged jurors not to let sympathy color their verdict.

"David Harris was a jerk. You understand the pain it caused the defendant. The solution was to get a divorce," she told the nine-woman, three-man jury. "She could do what every woman in this county does: take him to the cleaners, make him wish he was dead. She ran over him again and again and again. It's time for you to call her what she is, and that is a murderer."

It has been a trial of titillating revelations, including David Harris' torrid affair with his receptionist, Gail Thompson-Bridges. At one point, according to notes Dr. Harris kept, David Harris, 44, compared his wife with his lover, prompting Dr. Harris to start a weight-loss program, plan liposuction surgery and breast enhancement, and have sex up to three times a night in the week leading up to his death.

Among the character witnesses for Dr. Harris were her husband's parents, who recalled her as a sweet and loving wife and mother.

In closing arguments, Mr. Parnham said Ms. Thompson-Bridges caused discord in what he called a "marriage made in heaven."

He said that it was an accident when Dr. Harris, with her stepdaughter in the car, ran over her husband. David Harris had just left a Houston hotel with his lover.

"You saw Clara Harris on the stand," he said. "You saw Clara Harris during the course of this trial. Do you think those are rehearsed tears? ... Do you believe if for one moment if Clara Harris intended to kill David Harris, she would have had his daughter in the car?"

But pain isn't sufficient reason to kill someone, Ms. Magness said in her summation.

"There is a level of desperation there that I know touches you, and you feel sorry for her because of it," she told jurors. "You cannot excuse what she did intentionally and knowingly because she was hurt."

After deliberating six hours, jurors passed a note to state District Judge Carol Davies requesting testimony read back to them to resolve whether Dr. Harris said she told police she wanted to "hurt him" or "separate them" with her car.

The jury returned to the courtroom and heard testimony read back from the transcript in which Dr. Harris said that "I wanted to separate him from her" but that she only wanted "to hurt him emotionally," not physically.

Judge Davies sequestered the jurors for the night when they failed to reach a verdict.

E-mail dmclemore@dallasnews.com


Online at: http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews/stories/021303dntexharris.8ba2b8.html


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: claraharris; guilty; houston; mercedesbenz; murder; texas
I bet she is really crying now...

*
AP 2-7-2003
Defendant Clara Harris reacts as she
testifies about her husband's affair.


1 posted on 02/13/2003 8:19:07 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: dennisw; Sunshine55; isthisnickcool; SerpentDove; Ciexyz; Texagirl4W; TexRef
Here is the regular front page thread...

Now for the sentencing...

Court was to reconvene later Thursday morning for the sentencing phase.


Please let me know if you want ON or OFF my Clara Harris murder trial ping list!. . .don't be shy.

2 posted on 02/13/2003 8:22:08 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye SADdam. You're soon to meet your buddy Stalin in Hades.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Clara Harris:
Squirrel of the Month

3 posted on 02/13/2003 8:31:53 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye SADdam. You're soon to meet your buddy Stalin in Hades.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
Thank God justice prevailed... So far. Here's hoping she gets life... Granted, he was a real jerk, but he surely didn't deserve death. Being taken to the cleaners in a divorce settlement, yes, but certainly not death.
4 posted on 02/13/2003 8:43:48 AM PST by NYC Republican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NYC Republican
My wife thought the "fat defense" should have prevailed. In her view, if a husband justifies his philandering by telling his wife she's fat, then he deserves death.
5 posted on 02/13/2003 9:03:28 AM PST by AZLiberty
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
For all the married men out there may I offer a collective

WHEW!

PS: I don't know why hubby had issues if she was being convivial 3 times a days. I mean really. And she's pretty good looking (to me).

/snicker - nice try defense lawyer
6 posted on 02/13/2003 9:08:34 AM PST by kinghorse
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
Clara Harris convicted of murder

Well DUH!

The only problem with my comment is that before the verdict, we were all wondering if she really would be convicted of murder.

7 posted on 02/13/2003 9:23:03 AM PST by The Lake City Gar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: kinghorse
Well OK thanks for the "WHEW" but....

Lorana Bobbitt is still walking the streets a free woman. And to be honest, I honestly don't know which would be the worse fate...Death or disMEMBERment.
8 posted on 02/13/2003 9:24:38 AM PST by The Lake City Gar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
In closing arguments, defense attorney George Parnham took jurors through the mind of the Houston-area dentist who killed her orthodontist husband by driving over him after she caught him with another woman.

"In one week, she spiraled down from a life of dignity and self-respect to the knowledge that her neighbors and everyone else knows her husband was being unfaithful," Mr. Parnham said. "Didn't she react like any woman would act?"

THIS is the basic problem with lawyers...

NO YOU FREAKING IDIOT!!! NOT "ANY WOMAN" WOULD ACT THIS WAY!!! YOU CAN'T BE THIS STUPID???

Or would you rather me say.....

Lawyers have done so much harm to this great country that I think ANY person has the right to run over them with a car THREE TIMES anytime they see one on the street.

9 posted on 02/13/2003 9:29:28 AM PST by The Lake City Gar
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
How about a catchy headline for story?

DENTIST LOOKS DOWN IN MOUTH AS SHE HEARS VERDICT.

10 posted on 02/13/2003 9:31:00 AM PST by punster
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: AZLiberty
That's hysterical... The fat question "honey, do I look fat in the -fill in the blank-", is one question I never answer. Ever. There are always consequences either way.
11 posted on 02/13/2003 9:33:36 AM PST by NYC Republican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: The Lake City Gar
...I was expecting an O.J. Johnny Cochran defense for the woman:

"She didn't know how to drive, so she must survive!"

OR

"If her hubby cheated, he must be deleted!"

12 posted on 02/13/2003 9:42:30 AM PST by meandog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
Court was to reconvene later Thursday morning for the sentencing phase.

I'm pulling for a nice long stay in the graybar hotel. She can get a sentence of anywhere from 5years on up. I also hear she can be given probation with no jail time. MEANING she gets off the hook. I want her to get the max (25 years) but my bet is she gets 10 years. She'll be out in 7 years or less if Texas does the same as other states.

13 posted on 02/13/2003 9:45:17 AM PST by dennisw ( http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: NYC Republican
That's hysterical... The fat question "honey, do I look fat in the -fill in the blank-", is one question I never answer. Ever. There are always consequences either way.

I always said yes. After a few times they asking. I figured it was better to go through the short term trouble and get it over with.

14 posted on 02/13/2003 9:51:09 AM PST by Brookhaven
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: dennisw

 

 

Bat out of hell photos

 

 

Clara Harris (C) shows no emotion as she is found guilty while standing with attorneys George Parnham (R) and Emily Munoz (L) in her murder trial, February 13, 2003, in Houston. Harris will now await sentencing for murder for the crime of running over her husband with her Mercedes Benz after finding him cheating on her with another woman. REUTERS/POOL/Pat Sullivan
Thu Feb 13,11:40 AM ET

Clara Harris (C) shows no emotion as she is found guilty while standing with attorneys George Parnham (R) and Emily Munoz (L) in her murder trial, February 13, 2003, in Houston. Harris will now await sentencing for murder for the crime of running over her husband with her Mercedes Benz after finding him cheating on her with another woman. REUTERS/POOL/Pat Sullivan

 

 

Clara Harris (L) closes her eyes as the jury is polled while sitting at the defense table with attorney George Parnham February 13, 2003, in Houston. Harris will now await sentencing for murder after being found guilty of running over her husband with her Mercedes Benz after catching him cheating on her with another woman. REUTERS/POOL/Pat Sullivan
Thu Feb 13,11:42 AM ET

Clara Harris (L) closes her eyes as the jury is polled while sitting at the defense table with attorney George Parnham February 13, 2003, in Houston. Harris will now await sentencing for murder after being found guilty of running over her husband with her Mercedes Benz after catching him cheating on her with another woman. REUTERS/POOL/Pat Sullivan

 

A Texas jury on February 13, 2003 found Clara Harris guilty of murder for running over her husband with her Mercedes-Benz after catching him with another woman at a Houston area hotel last July. Harris, shown in court Feb. 12, had said the killing was an accident. (Pool via Reuters)
Thu Feb 13,11:12 AM ET

A Texas jury on February 13, 2003 found Clara Harris guilty of murder for running over her husband with her Mercedes-Benz after catching him with another woman at a Houston area hotel last July. Harris, shown in court Feb. 12, had said the killing was an accident. (Pool via Reuters)

 

Clara Harris sits at the defense table February 12, 2003 as the prosecution presents closing arguments in her trial for the murder of her husband in Houston. Harris is accused of running over her husband in her luxury sedan after catching him at an area hotel with another woman. (Pat Sullivan/Reuters)
Wed Feb 12, 8:08 PM ET

Clara Harris sits at the defense table February 12, 2003 as the prosecution presents closing arguments in her trial for the murder of her husband in Houston. Harris is accused of running over her husband in her luxury sedan after catching him at an area hotel with another woman. (Pat Sullivan/Reuters)

 

Murder defendant Clara Harris, left, talks with legal assistant Mary Parnham as they wait during jury deliberation Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003, in Houston. Harris is accused of running down her husband with her Mercedes-Benz after catching him with another woman. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, POOL)
Wed Feb 12, 7:35 PM ET

Murder defendant Clara Harris, left, talks with legal assistant Mary Parnham as they wait during jury deliberation Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2003, in Houston. Harris is accused of running down her husband with her Mercedes-Benz after catching him with another woman. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, POOL)

 

 


15 posted on 02/13/2003 9:57:41 AM PST by dennisw ( http://www.littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/weblog.php)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Brookhaven
Does that really work? Don't they become infuriated? You know that deep down inside they don't want to hear the truth. It's more of a rhetorical question.
16 posted on 02/13/2003 10:01:22 AM PST by NYC Republican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: NYC Republican
Well, it looks like a temporary setback for the "He-called-me-fat-boring-nagging-bitch syndrome" murder defense.

It seems that the trail bar will have to go back to the drawing board.
17 posted on 02/13/2003 10:04:40 AM PST by ggekko
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: dennisw
I think if they give her less than 10 years, she can get probation without doing the time. I bet they give her MORE than 10, but who knows? That TWO jurors were crying when the judge read their verdict may give a clue they'll be more lenient than I am thinking though.

We'll see. Thanks...

18 posted on 02/13/2003 10:08:04 AM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye SADdam. You're soon to meet your buddy Stalin in Hades.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: AZLiberty
...a husband justifies his philandering by telling his wife she's fat, then he deserves death.

The guy was a Darwin Award Candidate. His wife should have just let nature take it's course and not rushed the fence.

19 posted on 02/13/2003 10:14:49 AM PST by Diana Rose (I hate all things french)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: NYC Republican
Does that really work? Don't they become infuriated? You know that deep down inside they don't want to hear the truth. It's more of a rhetorical question.

Yes, they become infuriated. No, it isn't a retorical question.

If you want to see a woman really become infuriated, just let her think you are lying to her when she asks "does this dress make me look fat?"

It really is a no win situation for guys. If you tell her no, evenutally she will decide you are lying to her. Then it hits the fan because she caught you lying to her.

I figure it is better to have it hit the fan early and get it over with.

20 posted on 02/13/2003 10:43:29 AM PST by Brookhaven
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
Yes, but if Hillary did this we'd be giving her a medal. Oh, the double standard.
21 posted on 02/13/2003 11:35:26 AM PST by nickcarraway
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but... once the jury renders a verdict, doesn't the judge, and not the jury, decide on a sentence?
22 posted on 02/13/2003 11:43:12 AM PST by NYC Republican
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: NYC Republican
Here's hoping she gets life... Granted, he was a real jerk, but he surely didn't deserve death.

Since she is a murderer, why doesn't she deserve death? Just curious.

Cordially,

23 posted on 02/13/2003 12:32:12 PM PST by Diamond
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: NYC Republican
She had a choice whether to go with a trial by jury or not. Since she chose to go with a jury, the jury decides the penalty. I'm pretty sure that is what the analysts said.
24 posted on 02/13/2003 12:54:37 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye SADdam. You're soon to meet your buddy Stalin in Hades.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway
LOL...
25 posted on 02/13/2003 12:55:35 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye SADdam. You're soon to meet your buddy Stalin in Hades.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing
When is the sentencing? Today?
26 posted on 02/14/2003 8:03:34 AM PST by SerpentDove (Shave the whales.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MeeknMing

I'm with the husband. She definitely needs a new look.

27 posted on 02/14/2003 8:05:46 AM PST by SerpentDove (Shave the whales.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: SerpentDove
I've checked and they haven't announced their decision on sentencing, per the DMN and the Houston Chronicle. Here is the latest from the HC...

Oh, re #27: LOL !

TODAY'S TOP STORIES
Jurors deciding Harris' fate
After deciding Thursday that dentist Clara Harris is guilty of murder in the July 24 automobile attack on her adulterous husband, jurors today began deliberating on how she should be punished. With video, photo gallery.

Harris legal defense strategy wins praise
Sounding Board for Readers: Reaction to the verdict

28 posted on 02/14/2003 12:16:39 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (Bu-bye SADdam. You're soon to meet your buddy Stalin in Hades.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson