Houston Chronicle

Jan. 24, 2003, 6:47PM

Videotape shown in Harris trial

By LISA TEACHEY
Houston Chronicle

The much-anticipated videotape shot by a private investigator the night Clara Harris ran over her orthodontist husband was grainy, dizzying, out of focus and raises more questions than it answers.

The novice private investigator who shot the footage testified today she did not start her camera until after David L. Harris had already been run over.

The 30 second portion shown in state District Judge Carol Davies' court today shows Clara Harris driving a Mercedes Benz, making tight, quick circles in the Hilton Hotel Inn parking lot from far away.

Her husband cannot be seen clearly anywhere in the video.

Previous accounts indicated that Harris backed her luxury sedan over her husband's body, but that was not shown on the tape. The Mercedes circles 2 1/2 times and comes to a stop behind a bush.

Clara Harris, a dentist, is on trial for the murder of her husband. Both were dentists in Clear Lake, where the hotel is located. The defense claims she ran over her husband in an accident.

The private investigator, Lindsey Ann Dubec, said although she did not capture the entire incident on video, seated in her car several feet away, she knew what had happened.

"He had been (run) over," Dubec said.

Dubec initially left the secne because a friend with her was hysterical, but decided to return because she knew she was a witness.

She told defense attorney George Parnham during cross-examination that even if she had managed to record the initial impact, it would not be seen on the video bdecause of the quality.

When Parnham asked whether other witnesses would be needed to verify that David Harris was actually run over by the Mercedes, Dubec said: "Right... I didn't see it."

Earlier today, a vacationing couple testified they tried in vain to keep David Harris alive that night. One witness testified today that she overheard Clara Harris say to her dying husband, "David, look what you made me do."

Julie Creger and Robert Williams of Conroe, who were staying at the Hilton Hotel Inn, both took the stand and were questioned by prosecutor Mia Magness.

Williams' testimony drew a startled reaction from defense attorney George Parnham, who questioned why his statement does not appear in investigators' pre-trial documents. Williams said he overheard Clara Harris tell her husband: "David, now you see what I can do."

Creger testified she and Williams were lounging by the pool when they heard a commotion coming from the Hilton's parking lot the night of July 24. She said when they reached the scene, she saw Clara Harris clasping David Harris' head in her hands and shaking it.

Creger told the court she heard Clara Harris say: "David, look what you made me do."

Creger said she pushed Clara Harris off her husband's body. David Harris was gasping for air, making gurgling sounds and his limbs were drawing close to his body, similar to those of stroke victims, she testified. Blood was coming from his nose and mouth.

Creger, who said she was trained in CPR to care for a premature son, tried to help the injured dentist breathe. She testified his jaw was clenched so tightly that it she could not get it open. When she tried to put her fingers in his mouth, several teeth came out when she tried to withdraw them.

"I realized there was no more help I could give him at that point, because I couldn't get his jaw unclenched," Creger said, adding she then held his hand and talked to him for about a minute.

She testified that she then heard a woman crying hysterically behind her, who turned out to be Lindsey Harris, David Harris' daughter. Lindsey had been a passenger in the front seat of the Mercedes Benz used to repeatedly run over her father.

Creger said she first told Lindsey to shut up, but Lindsey then said the man dying on the ground was her father. Creger testified she got up and walked over to her, trying to get her to calm down.

Creger walked the girl over to a Lincoln Navigator owned by Gail Bridges, David Harris' mistress, though Creger testified she didn't know who the woman was at the time.

"I believe I said, `Lindsey, who did this,'" Creger testified. She said Lindsey responded: "My mom. I mean, my stepmom."

"I said, `Sweetie, did she mean to do this?' She said, `Yes,'" Creger testified.

Parnham delayed cross-examination of Creger, saying he wanted to listen to an audiotape of her statement made by police.

Creger's fiance Williams then took the stand and said once Creger went to console Lindsey, he continued trying to keep David Harris alive, thumping him on the chin and talking to him.

"David, your daughter is watching you. Breathe, stay with me," Williams said he told David Harris.

Williams also testified that he heard Clara Harris scream at her husband: "Now you see what I can do!"

Parnham immediately objected, saying no such statement could be found on reports provided by either police or the district attorney's investigators.

On cross examination, Parnham said: "Your statement you made on the stand, that's pretty powerful, wouldn't you agree?"

"Yes, sir," Williams responded.

"That's a statement that goes right to the heart of this case," Parnham said, expressing surprise that there was no written record of such a statement. "This is the first time you've ever told anybody anything along these lines."

Williams said that was true, adding he never even told his fiance about it, and never discussed the case with her.

Testimony in the trial is expected to continue after lunch.

Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle