Opening statements wrap up in fourth Cal Harris murder trial
March 31, 2016Updated Mar 31, 2016 at 6:49 PM EDT
Schoharie, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Opening statements wrapped up in Schoharie Supreme Court Thursday in the fourth Cal Harris murder trial.
Harris is accused of killing his wife Michele in September 2001.
“This is a case about domestic violence,” Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin said during his opening statement.
Martin laid out what the prosecution believes happened to Michele Harris.
Martin described Cal Harris as privileged and wealthy at the time of Michele’s disappearance.
He said on the surface, the Harris family seemed perfect.
The prosecution said Cal Harris killed Michele because the two were divorcing-and Cal was going to lose a bulk of his business and money in the divorce.
Martin said Cal Harris is the only person who would benefit from Michele’s death.
The prosecution said Michele was killed in the Harris family home and then Cal successfully hid the body.
Martin stated a divorce payment of 700 thousand dollars was on the table for Michele to consider.
He told Judge Richard Mott the evidence in this case will show Cal learned Michele was going to reject that offer, and that is why he killed her.
The defense said during the trial, it will prove that several witnesses including Barbara Thayer, who testified Thursday, have changed their story several times over the course of 15 years and that the prosecution manufactured evidence to make its case against Harris.
The defense also pointed out that the prosecution has no new evidence.
It says the majority of its evidence is circumstantial and was collected in the days following Michele’s disappearance 15 years ago.
To close out his opening statement, Harris’ attorney Bruce Barket acknowledged that neither a body nor a weapon have been found in this case.
One witness, the Harris’ babysitter Barbara Thayer, was the first to take the stand in this trial.
She will continue to be cross-examined when Court resumes Friday at 9:45 a.m.