Just over two months ago, Clara Harris, the Texas dentist who made headlines in 2002 after she ran over and killed her cheating husband, was released from prison. This gruesome killing became sensationalized by the media, with her Houston trial generating true-crime books and a made-for-tv movie.
Clara, who is originally from Colombia, and her orthodontist husband David, were a successful couple who owned several dental offices. They lived in an upscale home in the Houston suburb of Friendswood. Clara became suspicious that David was having an affair and she eventually hired a private investigator.
When Clara was told by her PI that her husband and his former receptionist Gail Bridges were at the Hilton in Nassau Bay, she confronted the woman in the hotel lobby, pulling her hair and biting her. David and Gail left the hotel and went to Gail’s car. The private investigator was in the hotel parking lot with a camera rolling when Clara hit David with her car and preceded to run over him, turning her silver Mercedes-Benz around and running the car over him repeatedly.
Crimes of passion always make interesting cases. Defense attorneys and prosecutors describe these crimes as anything between a tragic accident and a cold-blooded, first-degree murder. Clara was found guilty of murdering her husband and in February 2003, she was sentenced to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000. Twenty years is the maximum sentence allowed by the jury’s “sudden passion” finding. Her release after 15 years didn’t satisfy everyone and many people believe she should have served the full 20. In today’s episode, Murder by Mercedes, we will learn about Clara and David’s lives together, the details of David’s death, and Clara’s incarceration and recent release.