Husband Declared Not Guilty in Fourth Trial For Wife's Murder
Cal Harris was in the midst of a contentious divorce from his wife, Michele, when she vanished in 2001. Her body has never been found.
A New York man has been declared not guilty of killing his estranged wife after his fourth trial in her murder concluded Tuesday.
Judge Richard Mott declared Cal Harris, 55, not guilty following nearly 30 days of testimony about the disappearance of Michele Harris, who was last seen 15 years ago.
Mott deliberated for about 12 hours over 2 1/2 days.
Harris, who has maintained his innocence from day one, embraced his and Michele's children upon hearing the news, reports WBMG.
"We can now finally move forward and make plans in our lives as normal people do," he said outside the court. "But I can tell you there will be no celebration at our house tonight. There are no winners in this case. Everybody loses."
Michele Harris was last seen on September 11, 2001, when the rest of the nation was gripped by the terror attacks. Her empty minivan was discovered abandoned at the end of the couple's long driveway the following morning.
The couple was in the midst of a contentious divorce at the time.
While Michele's body has never been found, Harris has already been found guilty for her murder twice — in 2007 and 2009. Both convictions were later overturned on appeal.
In a third trial, a jury deadlocked in May 2015.
"It's been a nightmare. I've been ripped away from my kids three times now," Harris said in 2014. "Three times now I've had to sit in a jail cell or a prison cell and wait for a judge or judges to overturn this thing."
On Tuesday, Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin said prosecutors presented the evidence they had as best they could.
Harris' attorney Bruce Barket said his client is now considering suing authorities who pursued him for more than a decade.
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