A Michigan man has been convicted of killing his wife less than a year after their second child was born by intentionally spiking her cereal with a lethal dose of heroin. A jury on Wednesday found Jason T. Harris, of Davidson, guilty on one count each of first-degree murder, solicitation of murder, and delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death for causing Christina Ann-Thompson’s 2014 overdose, MLive reported.
Christina was found dead in the couple’s bed on the morning of Sept. 29, 2014. Harris reportedly told the police that he prepared a bowl of cereal for his wife to eat on the evening of Sept. 28 and said that she had difficulties holding the spoon so he helped her get to bed. He reportedly said when he awoke the next morning, Christina remained sound asleep in their bed until he went to work, when she was “not talking to him but was coughing and in a restless sleep.”
After she did not respond to his texts or calls, Harris reportedly said he asked a neighbor to check on Christina. The neighbor, who was a registered nurse reportedly found Christina unresponsive and “cold to the touch.” A registered nurse who lived nearby came over and called 911 but authorities pronounced Christina dead on the scene.
Genesee County Medical Examiner Brian Hunter initially ruled the death an accidental overdose, but several members of Christina’s family showed up at the Davison Police Department on Oct. 1, 2014, and reportedly told Det. Sgt. William Skellenger that it was impossible for Christina to have died from an overdose because she never used drugs.
According to the news outlet, Skellenger testified that he opened a two-year investigation that involved multiple interviews with co-workers and neighbors, and sending samples of Christina’s breast milk, which had been frozen to feed their 8-month-old infant, to a laboratory for analysis. Skellenger reportedly said investigators found no evidence that Christina used heroin, and there were no traces of the drug in any of the breast milk samples from the days prior to her death. According to another report from Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, officials said it was the first time authorities had used breast milk as evidence in a criminal trial.
Evidence was also presented that appeared to show Harris wanted to get Christina out of his life, including testimony from Harris’ siblings, who reportedly said Harris made several comments to that effect.
Per MLive, Harris’ brother and sister in October 2014 sought out investigators looking into Christina’s death and told them Harris had talked “about getting rid of Christina Harris” and cheating on his wife before she died.
The New York Daily News reported that investigators learned Harris had also been texting with several other women in the weeks before Christina’s death, one of whom reportedly he flew out to visit in Rhode Island only nine days after his wife’s death. Less than two months after Christina was found dead, another woman had reportedly moved into the house with Harris.
Harris also reportedly received more than $120,000 in life insurance payouts due to Christina’s death. The couple was reportedly began dating in 1998 and married in 2003. Their two children were born in November 2009 and May 2014.
“This was a very tragic case and my heart goes out to the family and friends of Christina Harris,” Genesee County Prosecuting Attorney David Leyton said after the verdict. “The circumstances in the case make for a unique story and garner headlines in media but, at the core of it, a family is mourning the loss of their loved one and, I only hope that today’s verdict will help them with closure as they continue to grieve so they can feel some sense of comfort in knowing that justice under the law has been served.”
Harris is scheduled to appear before Judge David J. Newblatt in Genesee Circuit Court on Dec. 10 for his sentencing hearing.
[image via WDIV screengrab]
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