OZARK, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say they have dropped charges against a man arrested in the slaying of his wife after another suspect admitted to the 1990 killing on the eve of the trial.
The surprise decision to clear Carl Harris Jr., 55, in the death of Tracy Harris and arrest Jeff Beasley, 54, came after the defense raised questions about Harris’ guilt and authorities took another look at the case. The Dothan Eagle reports that the murder trial for Carl Harris Jr. was to begin Monday.
”I want to thank my assistant Jordan Davis. While preparing for Harris’ murder trial, she noticed very important information regarding a witness in this case that was last spoken to in 1990. The witness’ statement was very important to this case,” Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams said, according to the Dothan Eagle.
Tracy Harris went missing in March 1990. Her body was found about a week later in the Choctawhatchee River. An autopsy determined she’d been drowned, and her neck showed signs of strangulation.
The case went unsolved until 2016, when Harris was arrested in South Carolina after police in Ozark reopened the investigation. The Dothan Eagle reports Beasley was a friend of the couple’s when the woman was murdered.
The charges against Harris were dropped on his 55th birthday.