Cal Harris Back in Court

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Jan 14, 2006 at 12:35 AM EDT

A Tioga County businessman accused of murder was back in court Friday.

Cal Harris and his attorney were trying to get some of Harris' statements to police thrown out, statements he made to police in the days following his wife Michelle's disappearance.

Judge Vincent Squeglia ruled what Harris said to police, even without an attorney present, will be allowed as evidence at his murder trial.

44-year-old Calvin Harris entered Tioga County court with his attorney, Joseph Cawley.

Also in court Friday were two State Police investigators.

They spoke with Cal Harris over three days after his wife, Michelle, vanished on Sept. 11, 2001.

Investigators testified they first spoke with Harris the very next day, at his dealership in Owego.

Other conversations also took place at the Harris home in Spencer, or by phone, through Sept. 14.

Up until that point, Harris had not asked to have an attorney present.

The defense argued Harris felt pressured to talk, and that anything he said should be thrown out.

But Judge Squeglia decided Harris was never forced to talk, so the prosecution can use those statements.

"It's helpful because all the conversations Mr. Harris had with police are relevant and pertinent to what he knew or didn't know about Michelle Harris," said Tioga District Attorney Gerald Keene.

That includes one conversation about Michelle's minivan, which was originally found at the entrance to the Harris home.

When investigators interviewed Cal, they say he wanted to know when he would get her van back, so he could put it back on the lot at his dealership.

Cal Harris did not speak during Friday's hearing.

And defense attorney Joe Cawley didn't want to comment.

They will both be back in Tioga County court next week, for a hearing on the search and seizure of items from the Harris home.

The District Attorney says, right now, the trial could start as early as this summer.

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