Millionaire Begins 3rd Trial for Wife's 9/11 Murder

Calvin Harris' two previous convictions were overturned
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2015 1:07 PM CST
Millionaire Begins 3rd Trial for Wife's 9/11 Murder
Calvin Harris walks into the Schoharie County Courthouse Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015 before opening arguments in his third trial.   (AP Photo/The Journal, Simon Wheeler)

More than 13 years after his wife vanished on Sept. 11, 2001, wealthy upstate New York car dealer Calvin Harris will sit through his third trial for her murder. Though he was twice convicted of killing Michele Harris, who disappeared after leaving her waitressing job amid a bitter divorce, both convictions were overturned. Now, prosecutors will aim for one that sticks, despite having neither a body nor a murder weapon, the AP reports. In opening remarks Thursday, Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin told jurors that Harris, now 53, "exercised the ultimate act of control" in murdering his wife, then 35, who could have taken half of his $4 million fortune. Small amounts of Michele's blood found in the kitchen and garage of the couple's 200-acre estate suggest Harris killed his wife with a blunt object either late on Sept. 11 or in the early hours of Sept. 12, prosecutors say. The defense argues the age of the blood stains was never determined. Harris maintains he is innocent.

Harris' lawyers also reportedly question how Harris could have killed his wife in the home the pair shared with their then-young children and disposed of the body within the prosecution's time frame. Harris' four kids—now ranging in age from 15 to 20, the Daily Mail reports—chatted with their dad and sat behind him in court yesterday. "The prosecution ignores the real evidence of who actually committed this crime," says Harris' lawyer Bruce Barket, who will make his opening statement on Monday. Harris' first conviction was overturned after a farmhand said he saw Michele and a man in his mid-20s early at 5:30am on Sept. 12 at the end of the couple's quarter-mile driveway in Spencer, NY, where her minivan was found at 7am. His second conviction was thrown out due to trial errors. The latest trial should run six to eight weeks, the Daily Review reports. (Click to read about the dream that finally left a murder victim's son at peace.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.