Criminal Justice

Man acquitted of wife's murder after four trials now charged with stalking police investigator

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Last month, after being tried for the fourth time in his wife’s presumed homicide nearly 15 years ago, a New York businessman was acquitted on May 24 in a bench verdict.

But the Tioga County resident now faces a misdemeanor stalking charge, concerning an alleged incident Thursday outside the Oneonta home (in Otsego County) of a state police investigator who worked on the homicide probe, according to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin and the Oneonta Daily Star. If convicted, he could get as much as 90 days.

State police said in court papers that Harris, 55, threatened a state police investigator and his family by sitting outside the investigator’s home for an hour, eventually telling him “I’m going to get all you guys. How’s your son? Maybe I will go drag him out of school. I have been following him around.”

However, at a Friday news conference, Harris called the case “a feeble attempt … to get even” by state police.

Harris said he had traveled to Oneonta to complete the sale of a drone he had advertised online and “was on a public street, minding my own business” at the time of the Thursday incident, the Binghamton newspaper reports. The address for the drone sale apparently was incorrect, Harris said, and it was the investigator who provoked a confrontation by asking him, on the street: “Cal, tell us where you buried Michele, tell us where you buried her body.”

Michele Harris, who reportedly disappeared on Sept. 11, 2001 from the vicinity of the Harris home, has never been found.

Arraigned Thursday evening in Oneonta Town Court, Harris was released on his own recognizance but ordered by Judge Sean Farrell to have no contact with the investigator and his family and to surrender all firearms.

Court papers said a dashcam was in the Harris vehicle and indicate that Harris videotaped the investigator’s home and vehicles, the Binghamton newspaper reports.

Harris said he had an unloaded BB pellet pistol with him to “show,” if need be, because of death threats he has been receiving.

Related coverage: “Businessman acquitted in 4th murder trial over his wife’s presumed slaying”

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