The Social Psychology of Good and Evil

By Arthur G. Miller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
THE EVOLUTION OF EVIL

JOSHUA D. DUNTLEY

DAVID M. BUSS

On the evening of July 24, 2002, in the thriving city of Houston, Texas, Clara Harris got into her Mercedes Benz and killed her husband, David Harris, in the parking lot of a hotel. Using her car as the device of murder, she ran into him once. Her anger still not allayed, she circled the lot and ran over him again. Witnesses differ in precisely how many times she backed up and crushed her husband with the 4,000-pound vehicle. One said five times, another four, and a third witness indicated only twice. Videotape from the hotel security cameras revealed that the correct number was three. Some think that Clara Harris is evil and deserves to rot in jail for the remainder of her life. But some view the homicide as justifiable, or at least understandable.

The circumstance that elicited the homicide was David Harris's affair with Gail Bridges, his former office coworker. Clara Harris discovered the affair through a private detective, whom she had hired when her suspicions were initially aroused. The morning of his death, David Harris swore to Clara that he would end the affair. Later that night, Clara, along with her stepdaughter Lindsey, began to search for David Harris. When they finally tracked him down at a hotel, according to Lindsey, “She said she could kill him and get away with it for what she's been through.” Indeed, Clara had gone to great efforts to win her husband back after she discovered his affair. She made herself “real pretty so Dad would want her and not Gail,” Lindsey said. During the week before the murder, Clara Harris spent time at a tanning salon, a beauty shop, and a gym. She also consulted a plastic surgeon, inquiring about breast implants.

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