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The story of Clara Harris Murder

Updated on September 7, 2012

The Harris Murder

Clara Harris
Clara Harris | Source
David Harris
David Harris | Source
Clara Harris at trial
Clara Harris at trial | Source

The Harris Murder

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Thiers was a troubled marriage. David, the husband was having an affair with his receptionist, Gail, who knew David was married. She worked in the same clinic. Finally, someone in the office secretly tipped off his wife, Clara

.According to the local newspapers, Gail said David told her it was an open marriage. Even so, he was still a married man. Gail did not care how much hurt she caused Clara, it was an affair. It didn't matter to Gail, as long as she got what she wanted, which was to have Clara’s life.Gail wanted David and if it meant breaking up a marriage that was just fine with her. David was rich and Gail liked that. Gail had three children of her own, on a receptionist’s pay. Yet she carried on the affair anyways, thinking David would leave Clara and she could take Clara's family and the stability his money would bring.

.A man she should have never got involved with in the first place, David hurt their kids and the women in both marriages, not just Clara. They just kept on seeing each other. David even taunted Clara about Gail, saying he loved Gail, who was younger. More hurt for Clara.Soon after the affair started, Gail got a huge raise and big bonuses every month. This was perfect for Gail. She wouldn't have to struggle financially anymore. This did not go by unnoticed by the other employees, or for David, who never gave raises out.Even though they had seniority, except for Gail, who received large raises and bonuses.

She was just a hussy he paid to keep around, until the day when he tired of her and moved on.Clara had come to his office, with balloons, flowers and champagne, only to find out he had taken Gail out to celebrate. Clara believed his affair with Gail had ended. Coming to his office only confirmed suspicions that he was with Gail, still. This hurt Clara even more.

David and Gail knew how badly Clara was trying to keep her family, and BOTH of them kept hurting her. Clara thought if she stuck by the list, he would be happy. She did all of it to win her husband’s affections. He toyed with her instead, making her think that all those changes would help the marriage, but truthfully, any change he made was for him. Still, he kept seeing Gail.She did not know how to save her marriage, she had done everything David wanted, yet it still wasn‘t enough. It is thought by the public that he enjoyed watching Clara get hurt repeatedly like some psycho on the street.

David would still be alive today, had he not strayed from his vows and taken up with this hussy Gail. Gail should have had enough morals not to have an affair with a married man. Obviously, a wife did not deter Gail from the married man she wanted. This did not have to happen.Gail has posttraumatic stress disorder, and it is believed that she brought it on herself. She got what she asked for. When you play with someone’s heart and emotions, you never know how they will react.

Clara and Gail were at the same functions as Clara and David. Gail did not try to speak to Clara,Because Gail knew Clara had no idea, David never talked to Gail at events. Clara never said a word to Gail. If theirs was an open marriage, why she didn’t talk to Clara and avoided her instead. She did not approach Clara because she knew it wasn't an open marriage, and she wanted to avoid the confrontation with Clara.Gail had no business in someone's marriage.

Gail was a home-wrecker and she wanted the life Clara had. She wanted David. She wanted the status in the community, money and her husband; all that Clara had. So, as if to justify her being involved with a married man, she claims it was an open marriage even though she knew wasn't true.David had no business bringing a third party into their marriage when he could have simply divorced Clara. If Gail is truthful, David told her he had an open marriage. Truthfully, David wanted both women. David was getting sex from both of them. It was not just Gail.Gail knew he was a married man and she did not care. David introduced her to a different circle of people, one that a receptionist would not normally be invited to, and she met other influential people. Unless she had come with a rich man, in this case David.

There is speculation that David enjoyed two women fighting to be with him.Clara asked her cheating husband what it was that he didn’t like about her, and that he did like about the other woman. He compared the two women and Clara made a list, and it was all sided toward Clara’s unsavory life problems, problems any married couple has. Clara asked David to compare her to Gail. The things about Clara that were on the list,even her physical looks were negative. Everything on Gail’s side of the list was positive. Clara was desperately fighting for his love and her family.

Clara took it as a challenge and she took that list one item at a time and made herself into what he said he wanted her to be. David told her Gail was younger, petite, and she was a good fit for him in bed. Gail was thin; Clara had baby weight after having twins with David.Desperate to save her marriage, she transformed herself into the things David put on Clara's side of the list, even bleaching her hair to blonde. Gail taunted Clara at every opportunity, repeatedly. I think they enjoyed watching Clara was in a constant of hurt and depression because of it.Clara took it as a challenge. David told her Gail was thinner, younger, and being petite made her a good fit for him in bed. Clara had baby weight from having twins with David. Clara took to that list, took it to heart. Clara was an attractive woman herself.

The National Enquirer states that Clara worked out every chance she had to loose the baby weight. She dyed her hair the color of Gail's and had sex up to 3 times a day with David. It does not sound like he intended to leave Clara for Gail. David wanted both worlds of being a respected family man as well as one who could keep a woman other than his own wife. He wanted the “upstanding married life.” Clara made herself look younger, lost the baby weight and tried to put her all into saving her marriage. David watched how hard she tried, yet he remained with Gail.

Clara loved David and the kids so much, they were her life. Slowly, David and Gail destroyed her life while working together as a team.I can't help feeling sorry for Clara. Especially, when David was to break it off with Gail and instead took Gail to the Hilton Hotel - the same hotel Clara and David were married in. I believe David took Gail there to hurt Clara more. Clara worked so hard to be everything David wanted, and she had low self-esteem, thanks to Gail and David. Clara was an extremely attractive and educated woman. Too bad, she couldn't see that.

Clara hired a private detective who tipped her off at where she could find David and Gail together. Clara walked in and the jig was up.She had worked so hard to make her husband happy, and he never noticed or complimented her. Gail got all the sweet talk and compliments, and gifts bought with Clara’s money. When they married, Clara had a career of her own and thought her life mate would be proud of her. She thought if she stuck by the list, he would be happy; she did all of it to win her husband’s affections. Instead, he toyed with her, keeping Gail in the background while still seeing her romantically.

It all came to a boil one night when David told Clara he would break it off with Gail permanently. He was supposed to take her to dinner and let her down easy at the very hotel where they had gotten married. Why that Hotel? They were destroying everything, even the memories of her wedding day. That just was a slap in the face to Clara.Clara was very angry, as she had had enough. She was so angry, and then she saw David and Gail coming out of the elevator adjusting their disheveled clothes. THIS angered her even more, and she went into a blind rage, violently going after Gail, getting the best of her.

Clara loved her husband dearly, and giving strength to the pain of taking care of a man who’d cheated. After all she did for him. He screamed that it is over now, which made Clara even angrier. David sided with Gail and escorted her outside, leaving his wife there stunned, standing alone in the dark parking lot. For Clara, that was the last straw.Clara lost it even more than she knew was possible. He attempted to leave with Gail. Leaving him to believe those words she had not heard, saying it's over now. Up to that point, he was not going to leave Clara, which he never did say he was going to do, or he would have done it already.

If he and Gail were so much in love, he would have left his wife for her. Why did he wait? Why make the list when he did not intend to give up Gail, even when Clara made everything on the list come to fruition. He was toying with her and the list meant temporarily Clara would be engaged in other activities, leaving him with more ‘spare ‘time. This would not have happened if he had just stayed faithful in the first place.

Now he has chosen Gail, the ultimate betrayal of all. David, the man she loved was leaving with Gail and not her. Then things went from bad to worse as Clara got in her car, started it, and after putting it in gear she stepped on the gas peddle as far down as it would go, running straight into David, who‘d pushed Gail out of the way in the nick of time. Clara hit David instead.Clara did not just run over David, she circled the parking lot running over him multiple times.

This was all caught on hotel security cameras and Clara's own private investigator filmed the entire incident.Clara had her 17-year-old stepdaughter in the car, who screamed and screamed, for Clara to stop. Clara had been through so much that after she stopped running him over, he had obviously died. Clara got out of the car, looking down over him before sitting down next to him, saying, “I love you, I love you,” repeatedly.

Clara was hurt and in so much pain because David made her feel awful about herself. The pain of doing everything he wanted, yet he didn't seem to care that Clara did all these things to be the woman he wanted and loved. The months of enduring insults, Gail‘s brazen involvement and everything they‘d put her through made Clara feel as if she were at the end of her rope. Clara snapped.

If Gail had posttraumatic stress disorder, as she said she did, she had brought it on herself. Had she told David she didn‘t date married men David would be alive today.Its hopeful the daughter that witnessed it, received some kind of therapy, poor thing. The children always suffer the most. The lies and fighting had traumatized his daughter. David systematically destroyed the very things he professed to love. In truth, he did not spend time with the kids, giving his love and attention to Gail.

Clara is now serving 20 years in jail. There are those like this writer, that think after all the pain and frustration David and Gail inflicted upon her, she should have gotten leniency. Something like this could happen anywhere. Most have sympathy for Clara; there are even people with Internet sites stating "Free Clara Harris". It is widely believed Clara's punishment was too harsh; yes, she killed her source of pain. She just couldn't take it anymore. Even though it was a crime after she was betrayed, she did kill a man.It is popular opinion that David and Gail were selfish, not caring who they hurt and that they should bear some responsibility for what happened.

David paid for having his affair with Gail with his life. It is interesting to note, that David’s own family stands by their daughter in law.Society hopes Gail learned her lesson of being a sleazy home-wrecker. There are plenty of single men she could have dated. She could have caught anyone that wasn't married.

You never know what the wife will do in her pain and Gail is lucky to still be alive. Women like Gail are selfish people. Had David and Gail had not had an affair, David would be alive today. She was still doing things after his death to torment Clara; like she wore black and pettily tried to out-dress the grieving widow.The children and so many other people were hurt because of this affair between two selfish people. Just look at all the pain they caused by having an affair. Yet, she could not look at his lover’s wife while testifying, because she knew she was a huge part in David's death. She still wanted to torment Clara more, by wearing all black, as if it was HER husband's death.

It is hopeful she learned a very important lesson by this and stopped trying to destroy people’s lives, families and marriages; though it is doubtful. How would she have liked to be Clara and have it done to her? Popular opinion is that she did not and just does not care. Sadly, the children in this mess lose no matter which way the cards fall. Parents acting like children, fighting and sleeping around, breaking commitments and vows made before God. It leaves a poor example for the kids in the situation, and even sadder, it makes some of them think that’s how life is, and they may adopt such behaviors in their adult lives.

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  • Rusti Mccollum profile image

    Ruth McCollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

    Thankyou for your comment and reading my hub. you were very kind. I just try to do good research and be fair. I pray for Clara and for david. I pray especially for the kids.The daughter who was in the car breaks my heart. No one won here. If one of them would have left such as David if he was so unhappy he went to another woman, this tragedy would not have happened. It breaks my heart it did. Thankyou again for being so kind.

  • profile image

    hubbyMan 4 years ago

    hi Rusti,

    I read your story about David and Clara Harris, and have to say I'm amazed at your insight. I'm not sure how you know so many details of the behavior of David and his mistress, Gail; but it was hauntingly accurate with a David that I knew growing up. In fact, the same David. I knew him, and I knew Clara too. Clara; not so much, but the David that you spoke of is indeed who you think he was at the time. Pretty scary.

    All I can say is that I hope he's resting in peace; and has a chance to do good for others in the next life. I'll bet he'd choose to do better, given another chance. As for Clara, I can see how she'd react to such treatment; because they classify certain crimes as crimes of passion; which carry a bit more intensity than other types of violence, simply because they involved parties are not in their right mind at the time. I wish the best for Clara, and hope that she realizes that she has taken a human life in her anger. I hope she finds God, and makes peace with Him; and get His forgiveness, and strives to do good the rest of her days here with the time she has left.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge of the story. I felt like you were very fair in your assessment, and basically told it like it was, or must have been.

    Best Regards,


  • Rusti Mccollum profile image

    Ruth McCollum 5 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

    I think he messed with her and pushed her buttons. She is one killer I do feel some empathy for. Thankyou for your kind words on my hubs! I try to write interesting ones and I found her case particularly interesting, considering what she was put through.

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    txkkat 5 years ago

    This case is so sad. Tho I agree no one should take another's life I truly believe this was a case where herMIND JUST SNAPPED. I live in Houston, Tx. where she was tried. Her demeanor during trial was like no other I've seen She showed true emotions of being ashamed, sad, grieving, sorry and disbelief of what happened.

    This husband had shared his discontent and lied which started the emotional buildup in her. She did Many things to improve her appearance to please him.

    Additionally she was a very kind, well liked dentist and a loving Mother.

    At the hotel that night when he exited the elevator with the nasty mistress an argument began. He (the jerk) shoved Clare, his wife, with his hand on her face, and proceeded to walk with the mistress to the parking lot. OMG I can see why she SNAPPED. One insult, lie after another.

    Her world crumbled. I think the rage & pain took over and she lost her sense of reality. I pray for her

  • Rusti Mccollum profile image

    Ruth McCollum 5 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

    It wasn't just the cheating he did, it was the mental/verbal abuse he did. Granted she should have divorced him. He kept leading her on , thinking they could save their marriage. She did everything he asked of her to save their marriage, in fact the night she killed him. He had told her he was taking Gail to dinner to break it off. Instead he took Gail to the hotel they were in when they got married, further driving the knife so to speak in Clara's back. Gail knew he was married and you don'tknow HOW a person will react when their emotions are being played with. I think if David was so unhappy he felt he had to cheat he should have left Clara. She was faithful, he wasn't. He didn't want a divorce yet he wanted to run around with another woman. Like I said, she shouldn't have killed him and she should have left. Then again people can react violently when someone breaks their heart. They shouldn't kill but they do. I appreciate your comment and reading my hub.

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    Oliviasmor 5 years ago

    You don't kill another human being because he cheats on you. You divorce him and take him for everything he's got - leaving him with a nickel and the clothes he stands in! I bet the mistress doesn't think the affair is that interesting when it takes place in cheap motels with the bedbugs biting!

  • Rusti Mccollum profile image

    Ruth McCollum 6 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

    I agree David and Gail provoked Clara. You hit the nail on the head.If you commit yourself to one person. Like I stated he was the one who took the vows. he was married. Gail didn't mind a married man, she has no morals.I hope someday she marries and he cheats, so she knows, what they did to Clara. I feel Clara got too tough of a sentence and Gail gets to be the victim. If she'd said your married, the parking lot tragedy ,chances are it wouln't have been in the hotel david would be alive. You just can't play with people's feelings, emotions,They have no idea how the person is a big gamble. One can't help but feel sorry for clara. david was a lousy jerk.

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    Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

    There are some that think David got what he deserved. I think the whole thig is a tradegy. I believe David should have divorced Clara if he wanted to run around. Gail should have never gotten involved with a married man for any reason. And Clara I believe need help - no woman should put up with what he did to her.