Houston’s ‘Driller Killer’ Released From Prison After 16 Years
Clara Harris, the former Houston dentist who killed her cheating husband, has been released from prison after serving 16 years.
In 2002, Clara Harris discovered that her husband David had been having an affair with his receptionist. He had promised he'd end the affair, but continued to see his mistress. Clara hired a private investigator who informed her that her husband and his receptionist were at the Nassau Bay Hilton. Clara went to the hotel and found the couple coming out of the elevator, and attacked the mistress while David's daughter from a previous marriage, who accompanied Clara, began hitting her father with her purse. Clara, along with David's daughter Lindsey, went back to Clara's car and saw David and his mistress Gail getting into Gail's SUV. Clara hit the gas and drove straight at the SUV, bouncing off the vehicle and striking David, throwing him back 25 feet. Lindsey tried to get out of the car while Clara turned the wheel and ran David over three times. Clara then got out of the car and hugged David's body while crying, "I'm sorry!"
Dubbed "The Driller Killer", Clara was put on trial for murder. Lindsey testified that Clara had told her the week before, "With all he’s done to me, I could kill him and get away with it," and also said, "I'm going to hit him," just before hitting Gail's SUV with her car. Clara argued that she was only meaning to hit the SUV, and that she didn't realize what had happened until it was over. The defense successfully convinced the jury that Clara acted under “sudden passion”, giving her the maximum 20 year sentence.
Clara first came up for parole in 2012, but was denied though being a model prisoner. She was denied three more times over the next five years, due in part to David's family writing letters to the parole board saying Clara didn't deserve mercy and should have to spend the full sentence behind bars. David's parents also sued Clara for the wrongful death of their son, winning nearly $4 million.
According to Texas Monthly, after hiring a new attorney last year, Clara was granted parole after statements made by her twin sons, who were 3-years-old when their father was murdered. The twin boys have visited their mother every month for the last 15 years, telling the parole board that while they did lose their father that day, they also lost their mother, making them victims again.
Due to her conviction, Clara can no longer practice dentistry. She will be staying with friends while she works for a braille company she began working for as part of program while in prison.