A man is on trial in New York State for the fourth time, accused of murdering his wife on September 11, 2001. In his first two trials, Cal Harris, 54, was convicted of murder. Those convictions were overturned, the second one in 2009.
After the first trial, a witness came forward to say he saw Michelle Harris, then 35, arguing with a man in his 20s at 6:00 a.m. on September 12, 2001. That witness, Kevin Tubbs, testified at Harris’s second and third trials. Tubbs testified yesterday in Harris’s fourth trial.
Last week, the trial judge granted the defense’s request to allow evidence of third party culpability. This evidence was not allowed in the previous trial. That means the defense can put on evidence suggesting others are connected to Michele Harris’s disappearance. Her body has never been found.
The evidence connecting others to the murder revolves around two men, Stacy Stewart and Christopher Thomason, who were in their early 20s when they moved from Texas to Tioga County, New York (where the Harrises lived) in 2001. Stewart and Thomason frequented a restaurant where Michele worked.
The defense recently called three witnesses who knew Stewart and Thomason, and claimed the men made incriminating statements over the years. Stewart and Thomason moved back to Texas soon after Michele Harris disappeared. One witness recalled seeing Thomason covered in blood on the morning of September 12, 2001. Thomason said he had killed a deer. Tubbs apparently claims to have seen Michele arguing with Stewart that morning.
The State says the Harrises were involved in an acrimonious divorce which is a motive for murder.
Harris was convicted at his second trial, which was later overturned. The third trial jury deadlocked in 2015. Harris waived a jury for his fourth trial, which is now in the defense’s case and just wrap up soon. Schoharie County Judge Richard Mott will decide if he is guilty. The case is being tried in Schoharie County after a change of venue was granted.
The CBS show 48 Hrs has been following this story and has aired at least one hour on it. If you’re interested in reading more about this case, there are plenty of articles out there on the Press Connect site.
What do you think Judge Mott should or will decide?