ALBANY, N.Y. -- Cal Harris will stand trial for a third time for the death of his wife. The state Court of Appeals ruled today that there were errors in the 2009 murder retrial that ended with the former Owego businessman behind bars.
Prosecutors argued that Harris killed his estranged wife, Michele, in 2001, though her body was never found. Harris appealed his conviction, and the Court of Appeals ruled that though the verdict was supported by "legally sufficient'' circumstantial evidence, the judge in the trial made multiple errors. They include not further questioning a prospective juror who acknowledged having a pre-existing opinion.
Also, the court says the judge failed to instruct the jury not to consider a piece of hearsay testimony from Harris' sister-in-law as true. According to that testimony, Harris once said he'd kill his wife, and her body would never be found.
Because of those factors, the court has reversed Harris' conviction and ordered a new trial.
Harris is currently serving his sentence of 25 years to life in the Auburn Correctional Facility.