Harris Asks for Dismissal

By Matt Markham

January 11, 2011 Updated Jan 11, 2011 at 7:22 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Cal Harris is serving out a sentence of 25 years to life for killing his wife in 2001. He was found guilty twice, but his attorney is now asking for the charges to be dismissed.

Cal Harris' defense attorney, William Easton, made several claims Monday to the State Court of Appeals as to why he believes the murder conviction should be thrown out.

You'll recall Harris was convicted in 2009 for the murder of his wife, Michele.

She disappeared during the overnight hours of September 11, 2001, and was never found.

Action News has obtained documents which contain Easton's arguments to overturn the murder conviction.

Those arguments include claims that the prosecutor made arguments not supported by the record, and that Harris could not receive a fair trial because the jury was saturated with prejudicial pretrial publicity.

The defense claims Tioga County District Attorney Gerald Keene failed to prove that Harris killed his wife, Michele.

In court papers obtained by Action News, Easton says Harris's rights were violated when "hearsay" attributed to Michele was admitted in to evidence.

Easton also claims the jury pool was tainted and was unfairly denied repeated requests for a change of venue.

Tioga County DA Gerald Keene responded by saying evidence presented at trial was legally sufficient and the verdict was fair.

Keene also stated there was no misconduct on his part as prosecutor and that the court itself never wavered by denying a change of venue or requesting that the jury be sequestered.

From here, the appellate court could consider the request to overturn the sentence, or order a new trial.

Until then, Harris continues to serve a sentence of 25 years to life in the state correctional facility at Auburn.