It has been 15 years and a total of four murder trials for New York millionaire and businessman Calvin Harris. This week, the wild ride finally came to an end as a judge acquitted him of killing his wife, Michele. I’ve been mulling that verdict over the last few days, dancing around writing a blog post about it but not knowing where to start. You see, if you have read my book Missing Wives, Missing Lives, you’ll know that I don’t believe Cal is innocent. His actions on the morning of September 12, 2001, when he claimed to discover his wife did not come home the night before just don’t sit well with me. He’d threatened to kill her in the past. The couple was in the middle of a bitter divorce. And yet Cal didn’t seem to even bat an eye when Michele’s abandoned minivan was discovered near the end of the long, winding Harris driveway with the keys still in the ignition. Instead of reporting his wife missing, he took her car to work with him that same morning and cleaned it out.
If you recall, Cal was actually convicted of second-degree murder in his first trial in 2007. When a new witness came forward five months later, he was granted a new trial. That jury also found him guilty in 2009, but his conviction was overturned just three years later on an appeal. A third trial in 2015 resulted in a hung jury. The case finally came to an end this month when a judge acquitted him of all charges (Cal Harris had waived his right to a jury trial this time).
Despite my beliefs, in the eyes of the law, Cal Harris is innocent and can never be tried for Michele’s murder again. Even if they find her body. This was a tough case. Most of the evidence was circumstantial, a body or murder weapon was never found, and the defense produced a series of witnesses and viable theories that definitely introduced reasonable doubt into the case. Ultimately, I believe the judge got it right–there just wasn’t enough evidence to convict.
It makes me so sad to think that Michele’s body might never be found and her killer might never be punished for his actions. For the sake of his children, who have stood by him since the beginning, speaking publicly about his innocence, I sincerely hope I have it all wrong. This chapter is closed, but for many, including Michele’s friends and family, it’s definitely not over.