Due to this post from Roni Loren (thank you for the warning, Roni) I’ve decided to remove most photos from Thriller Thursday. I hope you’re still able to enjoy them!
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned is an accurate cliché—every woman reading this is well aware of how vicious our kind can become. On On July 24, 2002, Clara Harris took revenge on her cheating husband by running him down with her car in a hotel parking lot.
She claimed it was an accident. Witnesses said she ran over him three times.
Clara and David Harris were prominent Houston residents, raising two twin sons along with David’s daughter from a previous marriage. After ten years of marriage, they had a successful dental practice, a beautiful mansion, and the perfect family.
Then Clara found out David had been having an affair with an office receptionist, Gail Bridges. She didn’t believe it when another dental employee told her about her husband’s adultery.
“I thought she was trying to destroy my marriage,” Clara told Oprah Winfrey in 2005. Then David admitted he’d been seeing receptionist Gail, but swore he’d done nothing more than kiss her hand. He insisted he would do anything he could to save the marriage.
“I said, ‘Okay,'” Clara told Oprah. “‘I want you to fire her today. I want us to go to marriage counseling. I want you to tell your parents. And I want you to tell the pastor.'”
Clara then found out David’s sixteen-year-old daughter knew about the affair. She informed Clara that all the girls in the office knew, and that David and Gail went to lunch every day.
Clara resolved to do whatever it would take to save her marriage. She worried her career ambitions had gotten in the way, that she and David had grown apart. On a date at a romantic piano bar, Clara asked David what the difference was between her and Gail.
David’s answer shattered Clara. Her husband told her his mistress “had zero fat,” and admitted to having sex with Gail, calling it a fantasy come true. Clara claimed David’s comments drove her to hire a personal trainer, purchase a tanning membership, and plan to have her hair and nails tended to every day. She also said she put down a deposit at the plastic surgeon for breast augmentation and liposuction, and then went shopping for sexy clothes.
Then, the woman who’d come from Columbia in her early twenties and achieved the American dream, told her husband she’d called the office and retired. She would dedicate herself to David and her family.
David told Clara he wanted to break things off with Gail in person. “I thought, he’s a man; he’s not a child,” Clara said in 2005. David met Gail at a restaurant while Clara waited in her car with David’s daughter Lindsey. She’d come along to give her stepmother emotional support.
Clara had sent a private investigator inside to listen to Gail and David’s conversation. David’s office manager was also in the restaurant, and Clara says the manager called her when she saw David wasn’t going in the direction of the restaurant.
David Harris had sealed his own fate.
First, Clara and Lindsey drove to Gail’s house, but David’s truck wasn’t there. They went back to the restaurant, and then received a call from the P.I. He told Clara that David and Gail were checking into the Hilton—the same hotel where David and Clara held their wedding reception.
I don’t condone Clara’s next actions, but I do understand them. She must have been humiliated and feeling utterly betrayed. The fact that her husband KNEW she was in the restaurant parking lot waiting and still chose to take his mistress to the Hilton is beyond callous.
Clara and Lindsay drove to the hotel. They checked the hotel restaurant and bathrooms. Clara claimed Lindsey called her Dad and made up a story one of her twin brothers was sick. Minutes later, a couple emerged from the elevator. David and Gail were holding hands.
“He’s holding her hand, like he held my hand so many times. And at that moment, what I felt is just—impossible. There was a complete disconnection between my mind—I stopped thinking—and my actions. There was no connection between my brain and my actions.” –Clara Harris to Oprah in 2005.
Clara attacked Gail. Security forced Clara and Lindsey to leave. As she went back to her car with Lindsey, Clara realized David must have ridden to the hotel with Gail. All she could think about was stopping him from leaving with his mistress.
She claims she didn’t mean to hit her husband. Clara drove her Mercedes straight toward Gail’s SUV. She turned to the side to avoid hitting the car head on.
“I expected the car to stop right there where you park—that concrete little thing—I thought the car was going to stop there, but obviously it didn’t. It picked up air.”
Clara claims David turned back to stop the car, and she hit him.
“I couldn’t believe David was on the floor—I had just seen him running. I couldn’t understand why he was just laying down, like nothing.” – Clara Harris
The medical examiner saw things differently. He insisted Clara ran over her husband three times. Clara Harris’s defense denied this, claiming the tire tracks told a different story.
But none of that mattered. Lindsey Harris sat helpless in the passenger seat as Clara Harris ran her father down. She described the attack in detail at trial.
“She went right through (a hotel employee) and straight for my dad. I was yelling, ‘Stop, don’t do that. Go the other way,'” Lindsey Harris testified.
“What did your dad do?” Prosecutor Mia Magness asked.
“He pushed Gail out of the way. When Clara went towards them. Clara said, ‘I’m going to hit him.’ (Dad) had his hands in front of the car. He yelled ‘stop’ and she didn’t. I didn’t know if she had run over him or if he had gotten away,” Lindsey Harris answered. “She went over the median, circled around and ran over him again.”
Magness then asked, “How do you know?”
“Because I heard the bump. I yelled, ‘Stop, you’re killing him.’ I could tell when we were going over the big concrete curve and when we were going over my dad, it felt different,'” Lindsey Harris said. “She ran over him the first time, then two more times. A total of three times.”
–Via the January 29th, 2003 Houston Chronicle.
If that weren’t enough, a videotape from the detective agency Clara had hired was entered as evidence. They’d recorded the entire thing.
Mistress Gail Bridges has stayed mostly out of sight. She did give an audio interview to a Houston television station.
“It’s hard to tell. I could hear someone yell at me to get away from my car … to get away and I didn’t quite understand why until I turned and looked. That was when she struck me on my leg with the vehicle. His last words to me were, ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry’ and then he lost his life shortly after that.” –Gail Bridges, David Harris’s mistress.
On Valentine’s Day, 2003, on what would have been her eleventh wedding anniversary, Clara Harris was sentenced to twenty years in prison. She’s eligible for parole in 2013. Her lighter sentence is due in part to hers being a crime of passion, and to the goodness of David Harris’s parents. They believed David would want Clara to have a chance to be with their sons instead of spending life in prison. They are currently being raised by friends of Clara’s and see her frequently.
In 2007 was ordered to pay her dead husband’s parents, Gerald and Mildred Harris, $3.75 million in a wrongful-death suit. Her requests for a new trial have been denied.
For more about Lindsey Harris’s horrible experience, go here.
What do you think? Was Clara Harris driven to her actions by her cheating husband? Does she deserve to be out of prison in 2013?