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Clara Harris

Jealous dentist who ran over and killed cheating husband to be released from prison

A former Texas dentist who rammed her car into her cheating husband before running over him several times is scheduled to be released from prison, officials confirmed on Monday.

People reports that on July 24, 2002, Clara Harris, a then-44-year-old Houston dentist, spotted her husband, David, also a dentist, in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel in Nassau Bay, Texas, with his mistress, Gail Bridges. Harris was in a silver Mercedes-Benz with her stepdaughter, Lindsey, riding passenger, and as David walked outside to the hotel parking lot, Harris slammed on the gas pedal and rammed directly into her husband.

As he laid unconscious on the ground from the impact of the car, Harris proceeded to run him over three times before stopping the vehicle directly on top of him. David passed away from his injuries.

During the trial, Lindsey testified against Harris and said that she pleaded with her stepmother to stop the vehicle, but Harris wouldn’t listen to her. Defense attorneys argued that the incident was a crime of passion, while prosecutors said she “wanted to hurt him” and circled around the parking lot three times while waiting on him.

Lindsey Harris, right, and her mother Debra Shank leave the courthouse Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003, in Houston. Lindsey spent five hours on the stand testifying against her stepmother Clara Harris. Clara Harris, 44, is accused of intentionally running over her husband, David Harris, in a hotel parking lot July 24. She has claimed the death was an accident. Lindsey was a passenger in the car at the time. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

On Feb. 14, 2003, a judge found Lindsey guilty of murder by “sudden passion,” and sentenced her to 20 years in prison, with the possibility of parole.

On Tuesday, Harris’ lawyer, Kevin Stouwie, told Texas news station, KTRK, that his client loved her husband and shouldn’t be judged for a 20-second mistake.

“She loved her husband. She never would have wanted him to die. Her goal was to keep her marriage intact. Her goal was to save her marriage….If you look at her whole life, she’s led an amazing life. Other than that 15 or 20 seconds of her life, she is someone people should look up to. Not down to.”

Stouwie explained that David had been having an affair with the receptionist at the dental practice he owned with Harris. When Harris caught wind of it, David fired the receptionist, Gail, and promised his wife he wouldn’t see her again. Around a week later, a private investigator told Harris that she spotted David and Gail together and the same hotel the married couple previously had their wedding reception at.

Clara Harris, center collapses into a chair helped by her attorneys Emily Munoz and George Parnham after the jury sentenced her to 20 years in custody Friday, Feb. 14, 2003, in Houston. Harris was found guilty of murder for running down her husband with her Mercedes-Benz after catching him with another woman. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan/Pool)

Harris, according to Stouwie, drove to the hotel to see for herself, but never had the intentions of killing her husband.

“Choosing to have an affair on your wife then choosing the very hotel where you had your wedding reception—probably doesn’t help matters any,” Stouwie said. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t thought out.

Although she’s been granted parole, Stouwie said she’ll likely be officially released in 2018. On Monday, numerous supporters cheered when they learned Harris recieved parole.

“It’s about time,” said Emily Detoto, Harris’ friend and former lawyer. “It’s been long enough.”

[Feature Photo: AP/Pool]