In-Laws Sue Clara Harris Over Son's Death

Parents Want Compensation From Son's Wife, Killer

HOUSTON - The parents of a man who was fatally run down by his wife in a jealous rage two years ago filed a wrongful death lawsuit against their daughter-in-law.

Gerald and Mildred Harris -- who stood by daughter-in-law Clara Harris in the murder trial -- are asking in a lawsuit filed in Harris County district court for a jury trial to determine monetary damages owed them as a result of their son's death. A rift between the couple and Clara Harris developed after her conviction.

Clara Harris, 46, a dentist, was convicted in February 2003 of murder by running over her orthodontist husband, David, with her Mercedes-Benz after finding him with his mistress at a Nassau Bay hotel.

Sentenced to 20 years in prison, she is serving time at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville.

"Gerald Harris Sr. and Mildred Harris seek to recover an amount of money, which, if paid now would fairly and reasonably compensate them as a result of the death of the decedent David L. Harris," the five-page lawsuit filed Monday by Houston attorney Richard T. Howell Jr. said.

The Harrises had until Saturday -- the two-year anniversary of their son's death -- to file the wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawsuit asks for unspecified damages for pain and mental anguish; loss of companionship; pecuniary loss and loss of inheritance. The Harrises also are asking for pre- and post-judgment interest.

Gerald Harris, 74, and his wife, Mildred, 71, filed a similar lawsuit in Galveston County earlier this summer but withdrew it.

Lindsey Harris, 18, David Harris' daughter from a previous marriage, was in the car when he was killed. David and Clara Harris also had twin boys who are now 5.

Soon after Clara Harris' conviction, a Brazoria County judge declared a joint custody agreement of the boys between the grandparents and Clara Harris as void because the boys' court-appointed attorney was not notified.

A custody battle ensued last summer. Clara Harris wanted her neighbors and friends, Pat and Ana Jones, to get custody of the boys while she was in prison. Gerald and Mildred Harris fought the decision but lost.

A judge granted joint custody of the boys to Clara Harris and the Jones' with the grandparents getting visitation rights every other weekend.

Clara Harris said that she wanted the Joneses to raise her sons because they also have 5-year-old twin boys.

While the custody battle was going on, a judge in Galveston County approved the settlement of David Harris' estate with the children getting about $2 million each and Clara Harris retaining about $1.2 million in assets.

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Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.