HOUSTON – A woman on trial for fatally running over her philandering husband with a Mercedes-Benz burst into tears Tuesday when a prosecutor showed jurors graphic autopsy photos of his injuries.
Clara Harris, 44, wiped away tears throughout the day as a police detective testified he found a large patch of blood, bits of hair and grass on the undercarriage of the silver sedan.
But she began sobbing when prosecutor Mia Magness began asking a medical examiner about injuries depicted in the photos.
"We're not going to have any outbursts during testimony," District Judge Carol Davies said after Harris began crying uncontrollably, burying her head in her arms on the defense table.
"I don't know how to do that, your honor," said George Parnham, Harris' attorney. "If she's going to cry, she's going to cry."
She broke down a second time, at one point collapsing onto the table in front of her. Both times, Davies removed jurors from the courtroom and told Harris she had to be quiet if she wished to remain in the courtroom.
Harris pleaded with the judge, saying, "It's the first time I've heard what's happening!"
Harris is charged with murder for the July 24 death of her orthodontist husband, 44-year-old David Harris, in a hotel parking lot.
Harris claims she accidentally struck her husband, who prosecutors say chose his lover over his wife that night. The women confronted one another at the same hotel where the Harrises were married on Valentine's Day a decade earlier.
In testimony Tuesday, county pathologist Dwayne Wolf said that David Harris was run over at least twice and suffered a broken back, ribs, pelvis and jaw.
Under cross-examination, Wolf admitted he didn't include that opinion in his autopsy report. Defense attorney Dee McWilliams suggested Harris could have been hit once, carried by the Mercedes and then rolled over.
If convicted, Clara Harris faces up to life in prison. If jurors determine she acted under the legal definition of sudden passion, they could consider a lighter sentence of two to 20 years in prison.