Clara Harris released from prison 15 years after murdering husband with car
GATESVILLE, Texas – Clara Harris, the Lake Jackson dentist who killed her husband by running over him several times with her car, was released from prison Friday.
Harris was freed from the state’s Crain Unit after serving 15 years of a 20-year prison sentence.
A smiling Harris, who lived in Friendswood at the time of the slaying, showed her badge to a prison guard before she was escorted outside a gate and into a waiting SUV. She was greeted with a hug from a woman inside the vehicle.
Harris was convicted of murder for the July 24, 2002, death of her husband in the parking lot of the Hilton Nasa Clear Lake in Nassau Bay.
She was granted parole last year.
Before the attack, Harris hired a private investigator to trail her husband of 10 years, whom she suspected of having an affair with one of his former employees.
That investigator ultimately videotaped her husband’s dying moments after Harris confronted him and a woman inside the hotel lobby.
The fight moved outside, where Harris drove the car over him three times.
Sandy Schultz is the president and CEO of Work Faith Connection, an organization that works to get those released from prison re-acquainted with life on the outside.
As for Harris, Schultz said she'll like face a few obstacles -- as stipulated by her parole -- including wearing an ankle monitor and finding work.
"The first day someone gets out of prison, it can almost be overwhelming," Schultz said. "You're going to need an ID to get employment. You're going to need your social security card."
It's unclear what Harris' professional plans are at this time.
"Someone coming out that has a professional license in their background may not be able to return to that profession, but if they're willing to look at the skills they have that allow them to be successful in that profession and apply that to another industry, they really can return to work," Schultz said.
Harris didn't say anything as a corrections officer escorted her to freedom Friday morning, but her smile may very well be the answer as to what's it's like to be on the other side.
Defense attorney George Parnham represented Harris during her highly publicized trial.
Parnham said he hasn't spoken to Harris since the conviction in part because Harris sued him, claiming Parnham fell short in his duties as her lawyer.
A jury later sided with Parnham who, on Friday, wished Harris his best.
"I think her close friends will welcome her with open arms. I encourage that if she ever wanted to speak to me, she certainly is welcome here," Parnham said.
According to the terms of Harris' parole release -- she's allowed to live in Galveston County.
Harris has twin sons, now of college age.
Since Harris' conviction, her sons lived with a family friend in Friendswood.
Neighbors there wished the family well.
"I think she served her time and I think she realizes, I guess, that what she did was wrong," neighbor Scott Woodfin said.
As part of her release, Harris was given several conditions, including supervision until Feb. 10, 2023, the end of her 20-year sentence. She must also remain in the Greater Houston area, stay employed and have no contact with the Harris family or her husband's former mistress. She was also ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device on her ankle, and undergo drug and alcohol testing.
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