- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2003

HOUSTON, Jan. 21 (UPI) — Jury selection began Tuesday in the murder trial of a Houston dentist who allegedly ran down her husband with her Mercedes-Benz after finding him with another woman.

Clara Harris, 44, ran over her husband three times in the parking lot of the Nassau Bay Hilton Inn last July 24 after confronting him with his girlfriend in the lobby, according to prosecutors.

"It was an accident," she told police.

A panel of 120 prospective jurors was called for the jury selection process, which is expected to take about two days. The trial may run two weeks.

The potential jurors turned in questionnaires they had answered about the case. At least six were disqualified by State District Judge Carol Davies.

Harris has been free on $30,000 bail since the day after David L. Harris, an orthodontist, was killed.

Assistant District Attorney Mia Magness has subpoenaed more than 65 potential witnesses for the trial. One of the witnesses may be Lindsey Harris, David Harris' 17-year-old daughter from a previous marriage. She was a passenger in the Mercedes-Benz on the day her father was killed.

Magness and defense attorney George Parnham have also subpoenaed a videotape of the attack taken by a private investigator that Clara Harris had hired to investigate her husband's affair with his former receptionist.

The Harrises, parents of twin 4-year-old boys, were highly successful dentists with separate offices in Friendswood, an upscale suburb south of Houston. They had married 10 years ago and held the reception in the same hotel where David Harris was killed.

The prosecutors are expected to use the videotape in an attempt to show that Clara Harris intentionally killed her husband by running over him three times. They may use Lindsey Harris' recollections of that day against her stepmother.

Parnham said he will argue that when Harris confronted her husband and his lover in the hotel lobby she became so distraught she didn't know what she was doing. He said he hopes to convince the jury that she was deeply hurt and the act was not intentional.

Parnham said the outcome could be decided when Harris testifies.

Harris could receive from five years' probation up to life in prison. She could also be convicted of a lesser offense or acquitted.


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