Murder of David Lynn Harris
David Lynn Harris was an orthodontist. He owned a chain of orthodontist offices together with his wife, Clara Harris. The chain was quite successful and allotted the couple the finer things in life. They were able to afford an upscale home in Friendswood, Texas and luxury cars, including Clara’s Mercedes-Benz. The couple had married on February 14th in 1993 and were raising three children, twin sons born in 1996 and David’s daughter Lindsey from a previous marriage.
During the course of his marriage to Clara Harris however, David began having an affair with his former receptionist, Gail Bridges, a fact that she would later confess to. Clara, who was suspicious, had hired a private detective agency to spy on her husband. On July 24th in 2002, the agency notified Clara that her husband was at the Nassau Bay Hilton Hotel with his mistress.
The Murder and Trial of Clara Harris
Clara Harris went to the Hilton Hotel to confront her husband. Once there, she reportedly attacked her husband’s mistress, Gail Bridges. When hotel security guards escorted Clara to her Mercedes-Benz, she was apparently still mad, and she took that anger out on her husband.
When David and Gail came out of the hotel, Clara struck down her husband in the parking lot, as her teenage stepdaughter sat in the passenger seat.
According to the medical examiner’s office, Clara Harris ran over her husband three times. David was dead at the scene and Clara was charged with first-degree murder.
Her trial began the following February. At the trial, Lindsey Harris testified against her stepmother, claiming to have attempted suicide four times after her father’s death. Also introduced at Clara’s trial was an actual videotape of the crime, recorded by the very detective agency she had hired.
Clara Harris was found guilty of murdering her husband and on February 14th in 2003, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000. Twenty years is the maximum sentence allowed by the jury’s “sudden passion” finding and would have been the minimum without a finding of “sudden passion.” Ironically, Valentine’s Day would have been Clara and David Harris’s tenth wedding anniversary.
Clara Harris is incarcerated at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. She will be eligible for parole in 2013. Clara’s sons are in the custody of friends and they see their mother often.
Clara Harris was denied parole in 2016
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