OZARK, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama man cleared Monday of killing his wife in 1990 said his greatest wish is to be reconciled with his daughter.
“I have dealt with this for 30 years," Carl Harris Jr. said during a news conference Tuesday with his attorney. "What I do want is to do is make a public plea to my daughter. I love her and I want a relationship with her. All of this should have been done back in 1990. She has my number — please give me a call. I love and miss her.”
Harris and defense attorney David Harrison held a news conference Tuesday, the day after prosecutors dropped charges against Harris and arrested another man in the 1990 death of Tracy Harris, the Dothan Eagle reported.
“What the cold case unit at Ozark Police Department did to his life with incompetent evidence is just appalling," Harrison said. The unit showed negligence and incompetence, and should resign, he said.
Dale County District Attorney Kirke Adams said Monday that Jeff Beasley, 54, of Ozark confessed and was arrested after Beasley's ex-wife told investigators he was the killer.
Tracy Harris' body was found in the Choctawhatchee River a week after she was reported missing in March 1990. An autopsy determined she was drowned, and bruises on her neck showed signs of strangulation.
Harris was arrested in 2016 in South Carolina, after Ozark police reopened the case.
Adams said an aide had noticed “very important information” about a witness while preparing for the trial, and that witness led investigators to Beasley, a friend of the couple at the time of the slaying.
Harrison said Harris “has lost jobs, been evicted from homes, missed family members’ funerals, and missed out with time with his family all because a case was not fully investigated.” One phone call in the 1990s could have averted it all, he said.
Harrison said Adams called him to apologize for what the system had put Harris through.
“There’s nothing that can be said to really apologize for what I have been through,” Harris said.
Harrison thanked the district attorney’s office for doing the right thing but said he will look into “redress” for the violation of Harris' civil rights.