Trial of Houston Dentist Accused of Killing Husband

ByABC News via logo
January 21, 2003, 8:04 AM

H O U S T O N, Jan. 21 -- Clara Harris, the dentist accused of killing her husband, will spend the next few weeks waiting for jurors to decide whether she purposely or accidentally ran her husband down with her Mercedes-Benz after catching him with his alleged lover.

Harris, a 44-year-old mother of three, told all her friends she had the perfect marriage.

She and her husband David Harris were making millions with their chain of orthodontist offices.

She lived a cushy life in a palatial estate in the Houston suburbs, but now she may spend the rest of her life in a prison cell.

Affair Revealed

Harris' life was turned upside down when her orthodontist husband admitted last July that he was having an affair with his former receptionist.

A week later, Clara Harris went looking for her husband and his mistress at the same hotel where she married him 10 years before on Valentine's Day.

John Tyler, a witness who'd been at the hotel that night, said Harris surprised her husband and his mistress in the lobby. He said that is when a fight immediately broke out.

"They were hitting at each other," Tyler said. "Actually, the wife was hitting the girlfriend, ripped her shirt off. The wife was screaming: 'You are with my husband.'"

Hotel security guards escorted Harris out of the lobby and into her Mercedes-Benz, but the woman didn't go home, Tyler said.

"Maybe a minute later the Mercedes, with squealing tires, came around the corner in the parking lot and maybe 30 seconds later saw the crowd running saying she has hit them."

David Harris was declared dead at the scene.

An Accident?

"It was an accident," Clara Harris said as she was arrested, but eyewitnesses told police that they watched her run over her husband at least three times.

If convicted of murder, Clara Harris could be sentenced to life in prison, but former prosecutor Chip Lewis says the defense is hoping the jury will find sympathy with a woman who catches her husband in the act of cheating on her.