A millionaire murder suspect's fate is in the hands of an upstate New York jury. Cal Harris, the 53-year-old husband of Michele, has already been convicted twice for his wife's murder. Both convictions were overturned. On Friday, Harris is hoping a third jury will vote to acquit him.
The wealthy car dealer from Owego, New York, and his 35-year-old wife were in the middle of a bitter divorce when the mother of four suddenly disappeared on Sept. 12, 2001. Her minivan was found at the bottom of the family's driveway, reports "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty, who began investigating this mystery eight years ago.
"I need my kids to know that I had nothin' to do with their mother's disappearance," Harris said on "48 Hours" in June 2014 for his first television interview.
"How soon do you think you became the prime suspect?" Moriarty asked him.
"Within days," Harris responded.
Circumstantial evidence and specks of Michele's blood in the Harris home led to Harris' arrest. Although no body or weapon was ever found, Harris was convicted twice of second-degree murder. But both convictions were thrown out in February, and Harris went on trial for the third time.
"We're going through this a third time because he had the financial means to hire law firms to find some technicality," said Greg Taylor, Michele's brother. "If it was anybody else, we wouldn't be going through this again."
Harris' new defense team attacked the state's case, arguing the specks of blood were not evidence of an assault. They also took aim at Michele's lifestyle.
"If you're out drinking late at night with different crowds, you're running a risk," attorney Bruce Barket said. "Obviously in this case, something happened."
They say one of the last people to see Michele was Kevin Tubbs, a farmer who previously testified that he drove past the Harris driveway at 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 12.
"There's a man at the back of the pickup," Tubbs said. "There's a woman at the side of the pickup. It's a woman that I believe was Michele Harris."
Jurors in the past didn't believe him.
"I have always said that I cannot be 100 percent sure," Tubbs said.
But this time Tubbs was sure, and identified a photo of a friend of Michele's as the man he saw nearly 14 years ago. Will this give jurors enough reasonable doubt to acquit Harris?
Bodiless prosecutions are always difficult, but what also makes this case so unusual is how Harris has spent most of the past eight years, since he was first convicted of murder in 2007; he has been free on bail, home with his family, for more than half of that time.