Home / National News / Jury Deliberating in Third Trial of Millionaire Accused of Killing Wife


(NEW YORK) — An upstate New York millionaire father of four who has been tried twice before for the 2001 killing of his wife is facing a jury for the third time, and a verdict could come Monday as deliberations resume.

Cal Harris, 53, of Spencer has been convicted twice before for the murder of his estranged wife Michele, who disappeared September 11, 2001, but both convictions were thrown out.

After her disappearance, no body or murder weapon was discovered, even after extensive searches of Harris’s 252-acre property in Tioga County. But police said forensics teams found blood in the house, which suggested Michele had been attacked by her husband, and a witness said he heard Harris threaten her that he would kill her.

The trial in Schoharie County Courthouse lasted 11 weeks, and the jury has already deliberated two days without reaching a verdict.

Harris was originally arrested in 2005 and was found guilty in July 2007 of second degree murder. Before sentencing, however, a witness came forward with new information, forcing the judge to throw out the conviction.

Harris was re-tried in 2009 and again convicted. But that conviction was also thrown out — three years later, this time by an appeals court that ruled a juror had been seated who expressed preconceived opinions about the case and certain testimony was admitted without the jury being warned it was hearsay.

In an interview with ABC News’ Matt Gutman in January, on the eve of his third trial, Cal Harris said he and his wife were ending their marriage, but he denied any involvement in his wife’s disappearance or death.

“Did you kill Michele?” Gutman asked.

“Absolutely not,” Harris said. “Absolutely not.”

His four children also said they believe their father is innocent.

“We didn’t have any doubt he wasn’t involved,” his son Tanner told ABC News.

“We feel like we need to tell people that he’s actually a really great guy and there’s no way he could have done something like this,” his daughter Cayla said.

The Harris children told ABC News that they have never even asked their father about that September night almost 15 years ago.

“[We] didn’t have to,” Taylor Harris said.

“From an indictment, to the first trial, to the second trial, and here I sit, here we sit having to face another trial.” Cal Harris said. “No one should have to go through this. No one.”

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