(NEW YORK) — A mistrial was declared on Friday in the third murder trial of upstate New York millionaire Cal Harris, after a jury was hopelessly deadlocked.
A conference about the next steps in the proceedings, including a potential fourth trial, is scheduled for August.
“I’d hoped that my children and I would finally be free to live our lives without these allegations,” Harris said outside of court Friday.
Since his wife Michele Harris’ disappearance in 2001, the businessman has insisted that he’s had nothing to do with it. Asked by ABC News if he killed his wife, Harris replied, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not. And the fact that I’m sitting here having to go through this is just a horror show.”
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.
Prior to his third trial, Harris was asked what would be different since two juries had already found him guilty. “Two juries that didn’t have the new information,” he replied.
The third jury informed the judge it couldn’t decide. “They sent us three deadlock notes over the course of nine days,” said defense attorney Bruce Barket, “so we knew then that there was some trouble with the jury reaching a unanimous verdict.”
“It’s almost unheard of that someone’s tried four times for the same crime,” said ABC News Legal Analyst Dan Abrams.
Prosecutors alleged Harris bludgeoned his wife to death, but never produced a murder weapon or a body. Harris was convicted of second-degree murder in his first trial in 2007.
But then a new surprise witness came forward with new information, saying Michele was seen with a different man the day she disappeared; a judge overturned the conviction.
At his second trial in 2009, Harris was convicted again. That conviction was overturned by an appeals court.
Following the mistrial, Harris said the real killer is still out there.
“We got closer to justice but we’re not there yet,” he said outside of court. “We will continue to fight and continue to pursue the truth about what happened to Michele.”
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