Skip to comments.Eyewitnesses: Harris ran over cheating husband three times (Clara Harris murder trial)
Posted on 02/11/2003 10:26:44 AM PST by MeekOneGOP
Eyewitnesses: Harris ran over cheating husband three times
HOUSTON - Two men who saw Clara Harris fatally run down her adulterous husband with her Mercedez-Benz last summer testified Tuesday in her murder trial she hit him three times.
"I wasn't sure if what I was seeing was real," eyewitness Chris Junco said as he tearfully described the mayhem in a suburban Houston hotel parking lot July 24. "It was weird. I don't know how to describe it. The whole scene was very mad."
Junco and a second eyewitness, Oscar Torres, testified they saw dentist Clara Harris hit her orthodontist husband, David Harris, three times.
He and Torres, the prosecution's final rebuttal witnesses, had been playing tennis across the street from the hotel when they heard the commotion and ventured closer.
"I even thought that the car was pissed off at him," Junco said.
Junco also said he believed Clara Harris intentionally killed her husband, though he acknowledged under cross examination by defense attorney George Parnham she appeared not to know what she was doing when she got out of her car.
"When she did get out of the car, she was different," Junco said. "She wasn't thinking correctly."
Clara Harris maintains her husband's death was an accident, and she intended to hit a sport-utility vehicle owned by his lover, whom she caught him with at the hotel that night. Prosecutors say she intentionally killed him.
Torres made numerous sound effects as he described what he saw. He said David Harris' teenage daughter, Lindsey, who was in the Mercedes with her stepmother, was screaming "like an animal would when it's in excruciating pain."
Torres also said he got close enough to see David Harris' body. "He was mauled and gasping for air," the witness said.
State District Judge Carol Davies told jurors to bring necessities for an overnight stay Tuesday in preparation for being sequestered although closing arguments weren't expected until Wednesday.
The eyewitness testimony Tuesday corroborated Houston police accident investigator Rolando Saenz, who earlier testified Clara Harris ran over her husband at least two times. Defense collision reconstructionist Steve Irwin had told jurors David Harris was hit just once in testimony Saenz said was flawed.
Irwin testified the turning radius of Clara Harris' Mercedes-Benz would have made it impossible for her to circle back and hit 44-year-old David Harris repeatedly.
Saenz, who has investigated more than 10,000 collisions over nearly two decades, disagreed.
"As you make a left hand turn, sometimes you will swing out right and it will change the turning radius," Saenz said, explaining how it would have been possible for the car to hit David Harris repeatedly.
Saenz also pointed to separate, distinct blood stains on the underside of the car as evidence Harris' orthodontist husband was run over at least two times and possibly more.
Saenz said Clara Harris also likely took a wider arc around the Lincoln Navigator of her husband's lover than Irwin surmised. That, the investigator said, probably offered Clara Harris a clear look at her husband standing near the open driver's door of his girlfriend's vehicle.
Parnham said the Houston police officer wasn't involved in the investigation last summer, hadn't interviewed witnesses on his own and implied his only role was to rebut Irwin's testimony.
|Associated Press photos 2-10-2003
Defense lawyers for murder defendant Clara Harris, right, rested their case today after her mother-in-law, Mildred Harris, left, testified that the woman who drove over her son with a Mercedes-Benz is still "like a daughter." Prosecutors, however, immediately called an Houston police officer to the stand to rebut her lawyers' claims that David Harris was hit only once.
Feb. 11, 2003, 12:20PM
Clara Harris gets emotional today after hearing testimony about her husband's "mauled" body. She is accused of running over him after catching him with his former receptionist at a hotel.
From the arrest to the trial
What we know about them
The experts: Why they're split over jurors
Preparing for the trial: Video report from Jan. 19.
From the Chronicle's archives:
The story of Clara and David Harris: They epitomized success and happiness, but underneath the facade... - Jan. 19
The wife: Mother of twins kept to herself - Aug. 4
The mistress: Mistress not a stranger to the spotlight - Aug. 4
The married couple: Victim wanted to end marriage - July 27
Prosecutors rested their case today after two businessmen playing tennis near the Clear Lake hotel where murder defendant Clara Harris ran over her husband testified they saw her hit him three times with her Mercedes.
Chris Junco, a Seabrook real estate broker who'd been enjoying a break from work on July 24, cried as he tried to describe what happened so quickly the day the Friendswood dentist is accused of killing her orthodontist husband in a fit of jealous rage.
"I wasn't sure what I was seeing was real," he said. "It was weird.... The whole scene was very bad."
Called by prosecutors as a rebuttal witness in the murder trial, Junco testified he saw Clara Harris' face as she sped toward David Harris, who was standing in the parking lot with his mistress.
"She was pissed off," he said.
After running him down, however, she struggled out her car and knelt beside him, crying, "Oh, David, oh, David, what have I done?" Junco said.
"Did you think it was an accident?" prosecutors asked.
"I believe what she did, she did intentionally, but when she got out of the car she was different," Junco said.
If found guilty of murder, Clara Harris, a 45-year-old mother of 4-year-old twin boys, could be sentenced to life in prison, but she get as little as two years if the jury concludes she acted with "sudden passion." She could be eligible for probation if she is sentenced to 10 years or less.
Closing arguments will begin Wednesday morning, and this afternoon, the judge and attorneys from both sides will hammer out what instructions the judge will give the juror as they begin deliberations. Either side could request lesser charges such as manslaughter, but there have been no indications that will happen.
Before prosecutors wrapped up their case, Oscar Torres, an executive with a Houston entertainment company, said that like Junco, he heard a commotion outside the Nassau Bay Hilton Inn from the tennis court across the street and went over to investigate.
Hotel employees were trying to stop Clara Harris as she tried to peel out in her Mercedes, Torres said. They were yelling, "Clear the parking lot! Clear the parking lot!" but had to jump out of the way themselves to avoid being hit, he said.
After the car disappeared into a back parcking lot, he heard a crash, then arrived to see Harris hit her husband three times.
When the car stopped, he said, a teenage girl jumped out screaming, "My dad, my dad! You killed my dad!" He later learned that girl was David Harris daughter and Clara Harris' stepdaughter.
"She screamed like an animal would scream in excruciating pain," he said. "I watched in disbelief."
Torres saw David Harris lying on the ground.
"He was mauled. He was gasping for air," Torres said.
Yeah, right ... 'accidentally'
Aw shucks, it was just a 'certain late term abortion procedure'. Don't women have a right to choose?
She already said: 'It was an accident!'...
Check out the video in the article in post #4 that shows the car going around and around...
Your reply: She already said: 'It was an accident!'...
To which she can add, "It was an accident...but the third time WAS the charm."
"your cheatin' parts" -- apologies to Hank Williams
No, her testimony from the other day was that he jumped in front of the car (all 3 times?)
There will be some "heat of passion" or "temporary insanity" argument. For my part, I bet the jury goes for some form of manslaughter and she gets short time and long probation.
She's a marked woman from now on. Its like Lorena Bobbitt in a way--who'd want to take the risk of being HER second husband?
Unfortunately, it's on video tape. Sure looked like three times to me.
§ 19.02. Murder
(a) In this section:
(1) "Adequate cause" means cause that would commonly produce a degree of anger, rage, resentment, or terror in a person of ordinary temper, sufficient to render the mind incapable of cool reflection.
(2) "Sudden passion" means passion directly caused by and arising out of provocation by the individual killed or another acting with the person killed which passion arises at the time of the offense and is not solely the result of former provocation.
Texas Penal Code
IF she should beat this wrap... the civil suits will be a circus beyond belief... IMHO. FOX news said yesterday the couple made $60K monthly... I see sharks circling.
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.