Tag Archives: killer

Clara Harris – How dare you leave me?

In 2003 Clara Harris was convicted of the murder of her husband David Harris.  That she killed him was never disputed because it was caught on camera.  Clara, either in a fit of rage, or accidentally, ran her husband over in a hotel parking lot where he had met with his mistress, Gail Bridges.

Clara was born in Bogotá and worked hard to fulfil her dream of working in the United States.  A dentist, she met David Harris, an orthodontist and together they ran half a dozen successful dental offices.

Everybody in their workplace was aware of David’s affair with the office assistant, Gail, who had earlier, during her own divorce proceedings, been implicated in an affair with a woman called Julie Knight.

The jury took into account ‘sudden passion’ before sentencing Clara to twenty years in prison.

Clara Harris was a woman who worked hard at success, in life and in marriage.  The news of David’s affair came as a devastating blow to her and she became intensely insecure.  She went so far as to ask David to make a list of comparisons between her and Gail which she set out to correct immediately.  Such as losing weight, colouring her hair and making an appointment with a plastic surgeon.

On the night of the murder, David had told her that he was meeting with Gail at the hotel to put an end to the affair.  When he did not return home, Clara and Lindsey (David’s daughter) went to the hotel to look for him.  Now I can imagine what state she was in.  How her stomach turned in fear of what she would find.  And what she did find was David and Gail walking in the hotel lobby, hand in hand.  They had spent two hours together in a hotel room.

A scene followed in the hotel lobby with Clara apparently attacking Gail.  David then took Gail to the car park and Clara and Lindsey got into her Mercedes.  At some point, as she spotted David and Gail, Clara put her foot down and tried to run them over.  She says all of that time is a blur to her.  Gail was injured slightly but David was seriously hurt.  Onlookers say that Clara then ran over David again and again.  He died shortly after.

Now I don’t condone what she did, murder is not a solution to any problem.  But I can put myself in Clara’s shoes.  Firstly, she was completely unaware of her husband’s affair although everyone around her knew.  Secondly, when she found out, she did everything in her power to get him back, including more sex.

David’s behaviour is not really shocking, I suppose many men do the same.  But to compare her physical attributes to Gail’s is a bit low.

I will not dwell on Gail Bridges.  Suffice it to say that I cannot have sympathy for any woman who puts herself in a position where she could break up a family and destroy children’s lives.

Clara is not a character that invokes sympathy, but I think thousands of women could empathise with her.  The woman scorned.  Not out for revenge, but suddenly confronted with the fact that her husband does not want her anymore.  Lies, sex and rejection.  And a sudden fit of passion in more than one sense of the word that ended in the death of one, and the misery of more.

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My Death Sentence

Hi, my name is Bob.  I grew up in a country and a time where the death penalty was the acceptable punishment for taking a life.  I had no reason to question this law, not even when I saw others do so.  It did not pertain to my life.  Murderers and rapists deserved to be removed from society permanently.  Why give them a cushy, rent free life in prison when we know that they hardly ever serve their full sentences, and that they are very likely to re-offend upon release?  How many stories have we not heard of killers given time off for good behaviour, only to kill again and again?

Well, my opinion changed one evening in 1984.  I was 25 years old.  At 7:15 I answered a knock at the door and found two policemen outside.

“Good evening, are you Bob ******?”

“Yes, I am.  What is going on officer?”

“We would like for you to come down to the station to answer a couple of questions”.

The officer looked stern and I suddenly felt my heart in the grip of icy fingers.

“Questions about what?”  I tried not to sound frightened, I knew those are all signs cops looked for.

“It is in connection with your neighbour, Rachel ******.  But we cannot discuss it here, come down to the station with us and we should have you home in no time.”

I agreed, hurriedly told my wife that I was needed for questioning and tried to ignore the panic in her eyes.  We got in the car and drove off.  That was the last day I spent in my own home in twenty-eight years.

Rachel had moved in next door to us two years previously.  She was a mousey, quiet woman who lived on her own.  My wife and I introduced ourselves to her upon her arrival but only saw her thereafter in greeting over the fence, or when we pulled out of our driveways together.  I knew that she was a kindergarten teacher and guessed her age to be in her mid-thirties.  She had a cat and liked to potter around in her garden, which was lush.  She mentioned to my wife that she also grew herbs and vegetables successfully.  Neither of us had ever seen the inside of her home.

That was the extent of my knowledge about Rachel *****

And here I am on death-row, convicted of her gruesome murder the night before the cops came knocking on my door.  She had been raped, sodomised and beaten.  Death came by strangulation.

The jury decided my case purely on circumstantial evidence.  It was before the scientific breakthrough of DNA.  And anyway, samples of the DNA left behind at the crime scene had been contaminated and lost to the extent that today there is not enough left even for mitochondrial DNA testing.

I have spent all my appeals.  My execution by lethal injection is scheduled for next month.  I will then once again be free, but not to enjoy my family or anything in this world.

I am no longer for the death penalty.  I still feel that it is a just punishment for those who murder, but now know that too many innocent people are found guilty for too many reasons.

And, if just one innocent person is executed, it should be abolished.   Ask my wife, children and grandchildren, for whom I am saddened above all.