PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – He convinced a jury to set her free once, but can the same attorney do it again?
An El Dorado County woman wants her former lawyer to stand by her side when she goes to trial for the murder of her third husband.
David Weiner successfully got Colleen Harris acquitted when she was accused of killing her second husband.
At 70 years old, it’s hard to imagine that a woman so small in stature could be accused of murdering her husband. But Harris has been in this situation before. In 1985, Harris, at the time known as Colleen Batten, was accused of murdering her then-husband James Batten in the same Wilderness Way home where Robert Harris’ body was found Jan. 6.
She was acquitted in 1986. The jury foreman told us in an interview earlier this month that he believed Harris killed her husband to protect herself.
“I had to accept that it was self-defense because premediation wasn’t proven,” Paul Laufman said.
Now, she awaits trial for the murder of another husband, 72-year-old Robert Harris. And it seems, her new case may have a similar defense.
Friends told CBS13 that Harris killed him in self-defense because he was physically and emotionally abusive.
So could another jury come to the same conclusion?
Legal expert Jennifer Mouzis thinks so.
“These two separate juries in these two separate cases can absolutely come to the same verdict,” the attorney said.
Mouzis says it’s not that far-fetched to think that the same woman could kill twice to protect herself.
“If she picked another abusive husband and she felt her life was in danger, she’s going to resort to do what she knows how to do, and that is to stop her abuser,” Mouzis said.
But getting a jury to set her free won’t be an easy task. She’s called on the same attorney from her first trial to defend her once again in what could be a case of deja vu.
“The chances of anybody getting acquitted on any murder is always very small, but it’s also very case specific,” Mouzis said. “So it’s going to depend on the facts of this particular case. I’ve heard she’s a very small, slight person. That’s going to play a factor in what the jury considers.”