An American orthodontist, David Lynn Harris, co-owned a successful chain of offices with his wife, Clara Suarez Harris. The couple lived a lavish life in their opulent home in Friendswood, Texas.
On July 24, 2002, however, Clara Harris fatally assaulted her husband in a hotel parking lot after confirming his infidelity. She hit him and ran him over with her Mercedes-Benz sedan three times, killing him instantly. She was convicted of murder by sudden passion and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Clara Suarez, an immigrant from Colombia, held the title of “Mrs. Colombia Houston” and worked as a dentist. She studied dentistry in her home country before migrating to the United States in the late 1980s.
She entered into matrimony with David Harris on February 14, 1992, at the Nassau Bay Hilton. Together, they raised three children: twin sons named Brian and Bradley, born in 1998, and Lindsey, David’s daughter from a previous marriage.
While married to Clara, David engaged in an extramarital relationship with his former receptionist, Gail Bridges. Growing suspicious, Clara took the step of hiring a private detective agency to surveil David. On July 24, 2002, the agency informed her that he was in a hotel with his mistress.
On that particular еvеning, Clara hеadеd to thе Hilton Hotеl in Nassau Bay, Tеxas, with thе intеntion of confronting hеr husband. According to rеports, shе еngagеd in a physical altеrcation with Bridgеs in thе hotеl lobby. Hotel staff escorted Clara to her Mercedes-Benz sedan.
Subsequently, when David and Bridges emerged from the hotel, Clara struck her husband down in the parking lot while her stepdaughter Lindsey, a teenager at the time, sat beside her as a passenger. After he was struck down, she ran over him three times despite the pleas from her stepdaughter who begged her to stop. Tragically, David lost his life at the scene, and Clara faced charges of murder.
The Trial and Sentencing
The trial against Clara commenced in the following February. Lindsey testified against her stepmother, recounting how she had implored Clara to stop the vehicle. The prosecution argued that Clara’s actions went beyond a crime of passion, alleging that she had a desire to inflict harm on David, this was supported by the statements she made during a police interview.
Additionally, a significant piece of evidence presented during the trial was a videotape of the incident, recorded by the detective agency Clara had enlisted when she suspected David of engaging in an affair.
The video proved to be highly incriminating, as it depicted Clara circling her Mercedes around the parking lot on three occasions, although David was not clearly seen in the footage.
Initially advised against taking the stand, Clara ultimately decided to testify after watching the legal proceedings for days. Her decision to do so resulted in parts of her original interview, which her attorneys had previously deemed inadmissible, being brought into question. Only a portion of the interview was played to the jury, that was the part where Clara expressed her preconceived desire to harm her husband.
This unexpected turn of events caused Clara’s attorney to collapse from the stress, leading to a recess as he was transported to the hospital and subsequently released. Clara maintained that she did not see David when her car collided with him.
Clara was convicted of murdering her husband and subsequently received a twenty-year prison sentence on February 14, 2003. This sentence represented the maximum penalty permitted based on the jury’s determination of “sudden passion.” Additionally, she was fined $10,000.
Source: Vocal Media