Deliberations begin in Cal Harris Trial

Deliberations begin in Cal Harris TrialCalvin Harris arrives in Schoharie County on Wednesday. Closing arguments took place throughout the day in his fourth second-degree murder trial. (Photo by Wendy Post)
Deliberations begin in Cal Harris Trial

Calvin Harris arrives in Schoharie County on Wednesday. Closing arguments took place throughout the day in his fourth second-degree murder trial. (Photo by Wendy Post)

On Wednesday, and following seven weeks of testimony in the Calvin Harris second-degree murder trial, the prosecution and defense presented their closing arguments in front of the Honorable Richard Mott – the judge presiding over this fourth trial in Schoharie County.

Judge Mott, upon the completion of arguments, took the case and will begin his own deliberations. While Judge Mott did not set a timeline for rendering a verdict, he told the courtroom that he will notify the attorneys when he is ready to deliver it, and they will be allowed a half an hour to get to the courtroom.

Deliberations begin in Cal Harris Trial

Defense attorney Bruce Barket delivers closing arguments on Wednesday. Barket presented to the court for two hours and 50 minutes. (Pool Photo)

As for the closing arguments, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday the defense delivered their arguments for two hours and 50 minutes to the judge, and in front of a packed courtroom.

With Calvin Harris sitting at the defense table, and his four children and his father sitting in the courtroom, the defense started their arguments by asking the court, “What does an innocent person look like that is wrongly accused?’

“He [Calvin Harris] has been wrongly accused and relentlessly pursued,” defense attorney Barket stated as he began to dig further into his arguments.

Barket told the court that they [investigators] haven’t solved the case because they were looking at the wrong man. This statement touched on their culpability case, in which the defense believes that someone else, namely Stacey Stewart, is responsible for Michele Harris’ disappearance and presumed murder.

The defense spent a lot of time arguing the photos of bloodstains that the prosecution has based their case on, stating that the exposure of the photos was altered, and that the rug, which had bloodstains and what prosecutors say was a transfer stain, was positioned with the stains down prior to Sept. 11, 2001. The prosecution claims that Calvin Harris flipped the rug over to hide the bloodstains.

Deliberations begin in Cal Harris Trial

Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin delivers closing arguments on Wednesday. Martin presented to the court for one hour and 45 minutes. (Pool Photo)

The defense argued this point further, stating, “As meticulous as Cal is, why would he flip the rug; it doesn’t make sense.”

The defense also argued the prosecution’s theory that Calvin Harris had the motive to kill his wife. Barket stated that while the couple’s divorce started out bitter, nine months later it was over and Michele had accepted his offer.

“The very motive they allege is simply insane,” Barket argued.

The defense argued about threats that Michele’s hairdresser testified to, that Harris would kill his wife. Barket argued that the hairdresser lied, and that testimony they presented proved this.

The defense also brought up Michele’s behavior at that time, and how, according to the defense, she wasn’t coming home and was parking at the end of the driveway as she was drinking heavily.

Deliberations begin in Cal Harris Trial

Calvin Harris arrives in Schoharie County on Wednesday. Closing arguments took place throughout the day in his fourth second-degree murder trial. (Photo by Wendy Post)

The phone call made from the Harris residence to Michele’s cell phone on the morning of Sept. 12, 2001 was also argued in closing by the defense. The babysitter, Barbara Thayer, testified that she made the call, but the defense, in their closing, stated, “Thayer is a horrible reporter of facts.”

When this was said by the defense, Barbara Thayer’s husband, who was sitting next to her in the courtroom, made an apparent gesture, and was swiftly told by the judge that there would be no reaction in the courtroom, or they would be asked to leave.

The defense then continued to focus on Stacey Stewart.

“From 2,000 miles away, Stewart solidifies what Tubbs said,” said the defense in regards to Stewart’s statements to Julie Brinkman that he was the last person to be seen with Michele when she was alive. He added, “The truth is starting to leak out about what happened to Michele.”

The defense ended their arguments at 1:10 p.m., stating, “Cal Harris did not kill Michele,” adding, “The investigation was mismanaged.”

At 2:10 p.m. the prosecutor, Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin, began his arguments by stating to the court, “Michele Taylor Harris is dead. There is no dispute. And there is only one person who had a motive to kill her, and that is Cal Harris.”

Martin’s closing arguments, which were one hour and 45 minutes long, focused on Cal Harris’ motive, the testimony surrounding his behavior after Michele’s disappearance, and the blood evidence found in the Harris home on Hagadorn Hill Road in Spencer, N.Y.

Martin described Harris as a jealous and controlling husband that told others he would kill Michele and make her disappear.

He told the court, “The people have proven beyond a doubt of reason that Cal Harris killed Michele.”

Martin argued that Michele was killed in an act of domestic violence, and he called the defense theory that someone else was responsible a “fantasy”.

Martin argued that investigators interviewed Stacey Stewart following Michele’s disappearance, and that he was cooperative with investigators.

He added that Kevin Tubbs prompted the entire third party culpability theory, and they don’t believe that Tubbs is a credible witness.

The prosecutor outlined, in his arguments, that Harris didn’t want the pending divorce from Michele, that he threatened to kill her, that Michele took the guns out of the home for a reason, and that an upcoming trial date gave Harris the motive.

“Whose benefit was Michele’s murder,” Martin asked the court. “He was losing control.”

Martin stated to the court, during his arguments, “He found a good spot, a spot he knew would make her disappear.”

Martin talked in length about the bloodstains found in the Harris residence, and defined the scene as a bloodletting event that took place in the home.

The prosecution theorized that Michele came through the door of her home on the evening of Sept. 11, 2001 and was violently attacked in the alcove, and then moved to the garage. Martin argued that whatever was used to hit Michele left the transfer stain on the rug in the alcove.

He further argued that the evidence of clean up in the garage area is “overwhelming”, and that the DNA profiles match that of Michele in most areas.

As Martin neared the end of his arguments, he stated, “The evidence in the case leads to one person only. There is no mystery here.”

Now, the judge will now decide the case. If found guilty, Calvin Harris will be facing 25 years to life for second-degree murder.