updated 1/19/2007 6:54:32 PM ET 2007-01-19T23:54:32

A woman who killed her cheating husband by mowing him down with her car in a jealous rage was ordered Friday to pay $3.75 million to her in-laws.

A jury awarded the sum in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought against Clara Harris.

Harris, 48, repeatedly ran over her orthodontist husband, David, 44, with her Mercedes-Benz in 2002 in the parking lot of a suburban hotel after finding him there with his receptionist-turned-mistress. She was convicted of murder in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Harris squeezed her eyes shut when the judge asked for the jury’s decision.

She took the stand during the trial, but repeatedly invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Defense attorney Dean Blumrosen said he did not want to risk having Harris say anything in the civil trial that might endanger her appeal of the murder conviction.

Plaintiff Gerald Harris described the jury’s verdict as “an equitable decision.”

“We had an opportunity to tell the story of what a good man our son was, and now the door is closed,” he said.

Blumrosen said Harris had expected the lawsuit and expected to pay damages. “She’s not upset about the money,” he said.

Jury forewoman Lorna Mullens said Harris “could have stopped and she didn’t stop. She kept running over him.”

Juror Brandon Pauler said the panel also felt some sympathy for Harris.

“I definitely think there was some empathy, some thoughts about what she’d been through as well,” he said.

On the night of the slaying, Harris and the receptionist had a brawl in the hotel’s lobby, and guards escorted both women out of the building — the same place the Harrises were married a decade earlier.


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