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New York man goes on trial for the fourth time in the murder of his missing wife

Posted March 29, 2016Lee Martin - Felony Cases

A New York man is being tried for the fourth time in the murder of his missing wife who vanished in 2001.  Calvin Harris and his wife Michelle Harris were going through a nasty divorce when her minivan was found abandoned at the end of the couple’s driveway.  The remains of her body have never been found and neither has a murder weapon.

Calvin Harris was previously convicted on her murder in both 2007 and 2009.  However, both of these convictions were later overturned on appeal.  Despite these setbacks, Harris was tried for a third time in May 2015.  The jury was deadlocked and could not reach a decision.  The prosecution has not given up.  His next and fourth trial will begin next week on April 7, 2016.

Calvin Harris has maintained his innocence every step of the way.  He has described the ordeal as a nightmare or living hell.  He has had his children taken away from him and had to sit in a jail cell while appeals judges overturned his two prior convictions.  I also imagine his career and job opportunities have been greatly damaged.

Michelle Harris vanished the day after 9/11 in 2001.  Calvin Harris has been tried three times and is set for trial next week.  The case remains a case built largely on circumstantial evidence.  The prosecution does not have a body or murder weapon.  After fifteen years, the case still remains unresolved and little has changed.

One thing will change next week at Harris’s fourth trial.  There will be no jury selection.  Both the defense and prosecution have opted for a bench trial.  This will leave Judge Richard Mott has the sole finder of both fact and law.  A decision will definitely be reached in the coming weeks and this case will most likely come to an end.  The defense strategy will consist of pointing the finger at a third party who was dating Michelle Harris at the time of her disappearance.  They will argue that her paramour killed her.  The defense is led by criminal defense attorney Bruce Barket.  He thinks the new strategy will present evidence strong enough to acquit Mr. Harris.  The prosecution will counter with evidence consisting of a bra strap, charred fabric, and buttons found in a burn pit located away from the Harris home.

This should be an interesting case to watch in the upcoming weeks.  The bench trial is a risky strategy by the defense and I am curious if this strategy will pay off.  This is definitely a high risk high reward proposition.  Hopefully, justice will prevail and this case will finally be put to rest.

-Lee Martin is a nationally recognized DUI and criminal defense attorney.  He provides premier legal services by limiting his caseload exclusively to DUI and criminal matters.  Lee knows how to build a solid defense strategy for your upcoming court date.  Let Lee Martin be your choose as your Nashville area criminal defense lawyer.   If you have pending charges, give him a call at 615-345-1988.

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