Dale Canton District Advocate Kirke Adams and Assistant DA Jordan Davis spent years architecture a case adjoin Carl Harris for the annihilation of his ex-wife, Tracey.
“Tracey Harris was a hardworking, adolescent mother that abolished March 7th, 1990,” said Adams.
A anniversary later, her anatomy was begin in a adjacent river. Her afterlife was disqualified a homicide.
“I anticipate from the actual get-go, there was alone one doubtable in this case …” said Davis. “… Carl Harris.”
The brace had afresh divorced, and Carl had a girlfriend.
“Carl Harris did accept a acceptability for actuality actual agitated in accurate arise Tracey Harris,” said Davis.
About a dozen assemblage gave board statements anecdotic Carl Harris’s concrete corruption of Tracey—something Carl denies.
“I never put my easily on Tracey … Never,” he told “48 Hours” contributor Maureen Maher.
“So, all those bodies were lying?” Maher asked. “Yes, ma’am,” he replied.
Despite the suspicion, no arrest was bogus and the case languished. Then, in 2015, an Ozark Badge algid case assemblage took addition attending at Tracey’s murder, and afresh zeroed in on Carl.
“The affirmation was circumstantially strong,” said Adams.
More than 26 years afterwards Tracey Harris was killed, Carl Harris was arrested for her murder.
The prosecutors were assured in their case — until they got in blow with a abeyant attestant for the balloon who would alter Carl Harris’ annihilation balloon aloof canicule afore it was to start, and point prosecutors to the absolute killer.
Tracey Harris, 22, abolished on March 7, 1990.
Kirke Adams| Dale Canton District Advocate [by the river]: Tracey was animate aback she came to this breadth and catholic bottomward this admission alley to the beachy area.
A anniversary later, her anatomy was begin in the Choctawhatchee River, a few afar from her home in Ozark, Alabama. The breadth about the river was a abode Tracey and her accompany would get together.
Kirke Adams: It was absolutely one of the aboriginal places that board were attractive for Tracey. … Her anatomy … had arise to blow aloft a log afterwards the baptize started to abate a bit.
The dissection arise that Tracey had drowned, but additionally acclaimed marks about her abutting acceptable advertence strangulation. The missing actuality case became a homicide, and Ozark badge started interviewing those abutting to Tracey and her ex-husband Carl, with whom she still lived.
Kirke Adams: Carl had let the badge in his abode a brace of times for them to attending around.
Carl was believed to accept been the aftermost actuality to see Tracey, acrimonious her up the night she abolished from the restaurant breadth she formed as a waitress. He afresh alone Tracey off at their abode and headed out to his job at a supermarket.
Kirke Adams: There were not any clues at home … It didn’t arise that anybody had taken her by force.
Police anticipation that breadth by the river ability accommodate added clues. They abstruse that while Tracey ability accept enjoyed spending time by the river, she would never accept gone in the river.
Kirke Adams: Every attestant we batten with, she could not swim. She was abashed of water.
Selina Dodson: She was so abashed of the baptize … aback she was baptized and she went under, she was hysterical.
Selina Dodson and Tracey were about 11 years old aback baptized. They were adolescence friends, spending a lot of time calm at church. It was there she aboriginal saw Tracey with Carl.
Selina Dodson: Tracey and Carl started dating aback we were … apparently 16, 17 years old. … I was blessed for her that she had a admirer and somebody that she absolutely liked.
In her chief year of aerial school, Tracey became pregnant, and she and Carl, who was three years older, married.
Selina Dodson: Aback she had Carolyn, she was ambrosial … everybody aloof admired her. … She was like Tracey. She looked like her and she had a personality like her. … Tracey’s mother, was demography affliction of Carolyn … You apperceive adolescent parents, you could tell, you know, that her and Carl, you know, struggled some.
Maureen Maher: Acquaint me about your ancestors as a adolescent family, you and Tracey and Carolyn.
Carl Harris: We was all blessed and everything. … didn’t accept a botheration with anniversary added or annihilation like that.
The account Carl corrective of a blessed home admitting was not what badge begin aback they started analytic accompany and family.
Jordan Davis | Dale Canton Assistant District Attorney: There was about 14 altered bodies that had arise forward, that witnessed some types of calm abandon amid Tracey and Carl.
One of those bodies was Dawn Beasley. She and her -to-be bedmate Jeff, who formed architecture with Carl, lived with the Harrises for about a month.
Dawn Beasley: Tracey and I were a lot alike.
Dawn, who was abundant at the time, and Tracey, a adolescent mother, bound became friends
Dawn Beasley: I anticipate that she accepted accepting someone, you know. Carl was absolute authoritative and, you apperceive he didn’t appetite her to accept a lot of friends.
Maureen Maher: What did you see activity on amid Carl and Tracey?
Dawn Beasley: One time (we were sitting at the table and) … she told Carl, hey, listen, I’m activity to allegation some money for the baptize bill. …And he flew into a rage. … He’s got her angled over backwards with his easily about her throat.
Maureen Maher: Did he verbally corruption her?
Dawn Beasley: He threatened to annihilate her in advanced of me … And I intervened. I’m cogent him, “let her go.”
Maureen Maher: Did she allocution to you about it at all?
Dawn Beasley: Yes … She aloof capital to be a family. … she acquainted like if she could aloof get through the asperous stuff, you know, that it would be OK.
Dawn told badge about those altercations she said she saw — and her animosity about Carl.
Dawn Beasley: Well, they asked me … so what do you apperceive about Carl Harris? And I said,” well, I apperceive he’s a rat bastard.” … he was not acceptable to Tracey … He asked me about fights I’d apparent … and I bogus a statement. And I active it. And every chat of my account was true.
Maureen Maher: There are absolutely a few bodies who said that they saw you actuality calumniating to Tracey. … Were you calumniating to Tracey?
Carl Harris: No, ma’am, I was not.
Dawn Beasley: We all saw it. … Everyone in boondocks was talking about it. I did my grocery arcade … and I’m in the milk breadth and there’s a brace continuing there talking about it. The bedmate said, “well, looks like that boy done assuredly asleep that girl.”
Despite all the allocution in town, Tracey never filed badge belletrist about the declared abuse.
Kirke Adams: Aback then, the calm abandon law was abundant altered … if the badge accustomed and cipher capital to accomplish a address … there was aloof no belletrist done.
It wasn’t aloof belief about corruption that bogus law administration booty a adamantine attending at Carl there was that adolescent girlfriend.
Jordan Davis: He did accept a 17-year-old adherent at the time who several bodies said he had had conversations with about marrying her, but that she couldn’t — he couldn’t leave Tracey because he’d accept to pay adolescent support.
Kirke Adams: He additionally bogus comments above-mentioned to her activity missing and afterwards including … arise aback whenever. Tracey won’t be home.
Carl admits to accepting a adherent and talking to her about Tracey but says any comments he bogus were misunderstood.
Carl Harris: Honestly, wasn’t any of their business
Maureen Maher: You didn’t acquaint anybody that she wasn’t advancing back?
Carl Harris: No, ma’am, I never said that.
Jordan Davis: It was aloof so abounding things, best of all which were circumstantial, but they all acicular at Carl Harris.
But no arrest was made, and the case went cold. Carl claims through the years he occasionally alleged authorities to ask about the investigation, but they say otherwise.
Maureen Maher: Has there anytime been a time that Carl Harris said, “I appetite you to acquisition out who asleep Tracey?”
Kirke Adams: Never.
Maureen Maher: Does that bang you as odd?
Kirke Adams: Strikes me as actual odd.
Selina Dodson: A lot of people, you know, aloof affected Carl would be arrested — affected he did it and were cat-and-mouse for him to be arrested.
For years, Selina Dodson wondered if there would anytime be amends for her accessory Tracey Harris, who in 1990 was begin murdered in Alabama’s Choctawhatchee River. Selina’s thoughts would generally aberrate to Tracey and Carl’s daughter.
Selina Dodson: So, I would wonder, I admiration what happened to Carolyn. I admiration what she looks like. I admiration what she’s doing.
Carolyn Aznavour: I was four years old aback my mom was murdered … I was 4 or 5, I would cry ceaseless if I would get in agitation … and say, “I appetite my mom, I appetite my mom.”
Carolyn was anon adopted by Tracey’s mother. They anon larboard Ozark, acquisitive to alpha over, and confused to Texas.
Carolyn Aznavour: I do not accept any memories of her. … Ancestors would consistently accompany up belief about her, how candied she was, how shy she was. … We had pictures throughout the house.
Maureen Maher: What did you abound up cerebration happened to your mom?
Carolyn Aznavour: I knew my mom was murdered … And then, as the years went on, I begin out it had to do with my dad.
Maureen Maher: What did bodies acquaint you about him?
Carolyn Aznavour: I’ve consistently heard that he was actual calumniating arise my mom … that he was aloof a bad individual.
Carolyn had no absorption in a accord with her father, who she did not see while growing up. Her grandmother provided a admiring a home and, Carolyn says, that was added than enough.
Carolyn Aznavour: She was like the best. Like she did aggregate for me [crying].
When Carolyn was about 21, she says Carl did ability out and they met, but did not allocution about Tracey.
Maureen Maher: Did you appetite to ask him about her?
Carolyn Aznavour: Yeah, I’ve consistently capital to ask questions, but the way that everybody portrayed him to be, I didn’t anticipate that he would acquaint me the truth.
Still, Carolyn wondered about her mother – absent to apperceive what absolutely happened.
Carolyn Aznavour: I accept approved to allotment it calm … that’s what I do — I try to allotment aggregate calm and accomplish it all accomplish sense.
Jordan Davis: This was absolutely article Carolyn was amorous about … she capital some blazon of amends for her mom.
When her grandmother died in 2015, Carolyn alternating to Ozark to coffin her abutting to her mother.
She started allurement bodies in boondocks what they knew about Tracey and the investigation.
Carolyn Aznavour: And there was one lady. She said that her son happened to be best accompany with the sheriff.
Carolyn batten with the sheriff, who put her in blow with the Ozark Badge Department. At the aforementioned time, the algid case assemblage was starting to reopen the investigation. As it angry out, their No. 1 doubtable had not changed.
Kirke Adams: There was cipher whose name had anytime arise up that had any acumen to annihilate Tracey Harris. And I anticipate aback they reopened the case, they were aloof aggravating to prove Carl did it, not attending for anybody else.
Jordan Davis: And so, they went aback through all the assemblage that had accustomed statements in 1990. … all the ones that they could find, they got aback in blow with. … Best of them remembered their statements and told the board about absolutely what they did in 1990.
Among those who badge went aback and interviewed — an accessory of Tracey and Carl’s, and Tracey’s aunt:
WOMAN: He said, “the badge are so dumb, I can annihilate somebody and get abroad with it.”
TRACEY’S AUNT: Because it affectionate of abashed me, because he was saying, it was like he was smarter than the police, you know?
Investigators additionally tracked bottomward that adherent of Carl’s, who was 17 aback Tracey was murdered.
EX- GIRLFRIEND: I was a young, aboveboard teenager…
INVESTIGATOR: Did Carl at any time acquaint you that you didn’t accept to anguish about Tracey assuming up afresh to the house?
EX-GIRLFRIEND: He could accept …
INVESTIGATOR: And aback do you anticipate he said that?
EX-GIRLFRIEND: I don’t know.
Although she recalled little about her time with Carl, she did bethink acquirements Tracey was asleep …
EX-GIRLFRIEND: I aloof couldn’t accept that she was dead.
… and the ability that, perhaps, her admirer was a murderer.
EX-GIRLFRIEND: I aloof bethink cerebration that, you know, bodies were talking … and it alike took me actuality questioned to alike anticipate that maybe he could accept done it. … But afterwards it all happened, we aloof chock-full seeing anniversary other.
Jordan Davis: There was additionally several bodies that they begin aback afresh that he had bogus statements to that were incriminating.
While badge were reinvestigating the case, Carl was aggravating to get on with his life. Several years afterwards Tracey’s murder, he had larboard Ozark, activity like the billow of suspicion had destroyed his life.
Carl Harris: I had to go out of boondocks to get jobs, breadth bodies don’t apperceive me.
He formed as a bouncer, in construction, had a adherent and addition daughter. By 2016, he had confused to South Carolina, breadth board gave him a call.
Carl Harris: I anticipation it was acceptable account … I anticipation they begin somebody they were attractive at … And aback they told me they was attractive at me as a doubtable afresh … they came up two weeks later, arresting me.
More than 26 years afterwards Tracey Harris’s anatomy was found, Carl Harris was arrested on September 13, 2016 for her murder.
David Harrison: There’s absolutely no affirmation at all that connects Carl Harris to this murder, none whatsoever.
David Harrison is Carl’s aegis attorney. He says Carl’s arrest was motivated by backroom and annihilation more.
David Harrison: In 2016 … in this breadth … there were baffling murders. They accept a lot of political burden to allegation somebody … the ambiance of Ozark, Alabama was we allegation to do something.
Maureen Maher: Were you abashed that there was some new allotment of affirmation that they had?
Carl Harris: No. I was never worried, never, because I was innocent.
While Carl may not accept been worried, there was addition who, for years, was: Dawn Beasley, that accessory of Tracey’s, who, with her afresh fiancé, briefly lived with the Harrises.
Dawn Beasley: Every time I would accept a badge administrator get abaft me I would wonder… is this breadth we’re all of a abrupt … they apperceive what’s happening. This is the moment.
Carolyn Aznavour: I’ve consistently wondered what happened to my mom aback I can remember.
For decades, Carolyn capital to apperceive added about the 1990 annihilation of her mother, Tracey Harris. And in 2016, with the arrest of her conflicting ancestor Carl, Carolyn thought, finally, she would get some answers.
Maureen Maher: How do you acknowledge aback the activity you appetite is amends for your mom, but it’s your dad who’s been answerable with her murder?
Carolyn Aznavour: It’s a abatement that we begin somebody. But afresh in the aback of my mind, I’m like, was it absolutely him? Could he accept absolutely done this? Why?
Motive was additionally a catechism prosecutors Kirke Adams and Jordan Davis anticipation about, as they able their case adjoin Carl.
Jordan Davis: I don’t anticipate there was one accurate motive. I anticipate that the calm abandon was absolutely in the aback of our active … But also, the 17-year-old adherent that he had.
Based mostly on statements from the interviews originally done aback in 1990, an investigator from the Ozark badge put calm this book of what he anticipation happened the night Tracey went missing:
“It was bent that Carl Harris larboard his job at Super Food [sic], ancient about 9 p.m. … and went to his home … Carl Harris jumped on top of Tracey Harris and began chocking [sic] her … Carl Harris afresh placed her acutely asleep anatomy into his agent and afterwards collection her to the Choctawhatchee River and placed her anatomy into the water.”
Police say Carl afresh best up a friend, reportedly at 9:30 p.m. Making all those stops, Carl would accept catholic about 20 miles.
David Harrison: You can booty all the statements of anybody you appetite to put calm in this analysis here. There is no affirmation whatsoever that that is true. … Aback you put the timeline in this case … Maureen, unless he was on a Learjet, that was impossible.
Defense advocate David Harrison says the absolute analysis is not aloof flawed, but that the badge anecdotal is fabricated.
David Harrison: This administrator bogus this up to accomplish this arrest.
The aegis additionally offered up an alternating suspect: that accessory badge say Carl best up the night Tracey abolished alleged Bobby Herring.
David Harrison: Bobby Herring … was bedevilled of raping a woman in a sister county.
But prosecutors say Herring had an account for the time Tracey was murdered. And they remained assured that Carl was their man.
Maureen Maher: What’s altered in 2016 that wasn’t there or accessible in 1990?
Kirke Adams: I anticipate the above activity was accepting these assemblage together, which is what we did for the admirable board presentation … And already you heard those bodies … It was actual bright that Carl was violent. He had threatened Tracey. He had said … “one of these days, I’m activity to annihilate you.” Those things aloof add up.
As they able for trial, Kirke and Jordan sifted through statements, attractive for added abeyant assemblage to testify.
Jordan Davis: I was absolutely 3 aback this happened, so from 1990 — and we’re aggravating to clue bottomward assemblage … We were ambidextrous with bodies that had confused all over the country. Several had anesthetized abroad … there was a lot to go through. So, we aloof affectionate of started with a connected account … And we aloof started aggravating to attenuated it down.
The prosecutors additionally visited the breadth about the river breadth Tracey’s anatomy was found.
Kirke Adams [at the river]: Part of our job is to acrylic that account for a jury, and I anticipate it is consistently important to try to get a feel for the area.
They spent time on the arch breadth badge believed Carl threw Tracey into the river.
Kirke Adams [standing on the bridge]: This breadth is about 7 afar from breadth Carl and Tracey Harris lived, it’s actual quiet, actual rural.
They additionally went to the breadth beneath the arch breadth bodies would sometimes gather.
Kirke Adams: There’s a lot of graffiti beneath this arch — a lot of names as well.
Putting the case calm was an backbreaking action — one abounding with continuances and delays. Carl Harris was out on bail, accepting spent two-and-a-half weeks in bastille afterwards his arrest. As assured as the case was, so was the defense.
David Harrison: I’ve approved 140 bent board trials. I apperceive a bad one from a acceptable one, and they never had a attempt with this case.
Maureen Maher: But they advance that the case was … accurately congenital on the statements of all the bodies who said that they saw Carl actuality calumniating to his wife, his aberrant behavior afterwards. Was that a activity for you as you were advancing a defense?
David Harrison: Never, never. Because the believability of the bodies that were activity to affirm … they had no credibility, none whatsoever.
But Carolyn, who catholic to Ozark for every distinct hearing, was assertive of her father’s guilt.
Carolyn Aznavour: I was accessible to put him abaft confined — accessible to see it happen.
Finally, added than three years afterwards Carl’s arrest, the balloon was appointed for January 13, 2020. The anniversary afore trial, Jordan connected to abrade over old attestant reports, chief who should testify. That’s aback one account from 1990, not followed up on, bent her attention.
Jordan Davis: The one in accurate that we begin that they hadn’t talked to in 2016 was this Dawn Hulbert now Beasley. … And she had witnessed calm abandon while active in their home. What we anticipation was absorbing was that she had witnessed it in the aforementioned address as how Tracey was absolutely killed.
It took Jordan several calls to amiss buzz numbers to acquisition Dawn Beasley.
Dawn Beasley: And she says … “My name is Jordan Davis, I’m with Dale Canton D.A. … this is about Carl and Tracey Harris.”
Dawn, who had confused abroad from Ozark and was now divorced, says she didn’t alike apperceive there was an arrest for the annihilation of her accessory Tracey, until that call.
Dawn Beasley: They asked me … we allegation you to testify. And I said, “”no, I can’t possibly do that. My job is actual stressful.
Jordan Davis: I texted her the abutting morning and said, … “We absolutely would like for you to come.” … she texted me aback … and said that she was activity to abatement our allurement … that she couldn’t advice us.
Maureen Maher: So, Jordan, for you … This wasn’t an invitation. This is a annihilation trial.
Jordan Davis Appropriate … I was aggravated … I artlessly got a amendment ready, and we gave it to our board the abutting day. … And she bogus a arena and was actual dramatic.
Dawn Beasley: I was actual unhappy. I said, “you’re ruining my activity and you don’t accept why. You guys don’t appetite me to testify.”
Dawn Beasley: It was astonishing to me that I should end up … with this absurd secret.
Dawn Beasley’s abstruse advised on her aback she was asked to affirm in the 2020 annihilation balloon of Carl Harris. Dawn banned to come, adage she was too busy. Then, afterwards actuality subpoenaed, she alleged prosecutor Jordan Davis again.
Dawn Beasley: I told Jordan, I accept accustomed you … absolutely honest affidavit why I don’t appetite to testify, but … the best important acumen I can’t affirm is because you accept an innocent man on trial.
Jordan Davis: I thought, wow … she’s advancing up with a crazy adventure as to why she can’t get here.
Dawn Beasley: And she said, “well, how do you apperceive he’s innocent?” I apperceive he’s innocent because the man that did accomplish the abomination … accepted it to me the night he did it. …That’s my ex-husband, Jeff Beasley.
Dawn told Jordan about the night of March 7, 1990, aback Tracey went missing. Dawn, about to bless her 21st altogether the abutting day, was abundant with her aboriginal child. Her fiancé, Jeff, came home, alive her in the average of the night.
Dawn Beasley: And he said, “I accidentally aching her and now she’s dead.” “Who?” “Tracey.” … “What happened?” … “I went over to Carl’s to allocution to Carl, Carl wasn’t there. I talked to Tracey. I approved to allocution her into abrogation him. She got mad at me. We had a fight. We tussled and I accidentally aching her and now she’s dead.”
Dawn Beasley: He said he took her bottomward to the river because he didn’t appetite them to arise home and acquisition her body.
Dawn says she told Jeff they bare to go to the police, but he insisted they accumulate quiet.
Dawn Beasley: I had an absurd best to accomplish … And I absolutely struggled … Tracey deserves justice. … But the amount was activity to be so high.
Maureen Maher: What was the amount activity to be, if you went to the police?
Dawn Beasley: I was activity to accept to bandy my absolute activity away. I’m about to get married, I’m abundant … This babyish deserves a adventitious at a activity with a admiring ancestors and a mom and a dad.
And so, Dawn bogus her decision. She would break quiet, she says, out of her admiration to accumulate her activity intact, and additionally out of abhorrence that badge ability not accept her.
Dawn Beasley: They’re activity to ask him some questions. He’s activity to abjure it. … Afresh what happens to me?
Dawn says she was honest aback badge questioned her afterwards Tracey’s anatomy was begin and declared the corruption — seeing Carl grab Tracey by the throat and corruption to annihilate her.
Dawn Beasley: And every chat of my account was true. They aloof never asked me, “who do you anticipate did it?” … I absolved out, and I do bethink the faculty of abatement because I hadn’t absolutely had to lie.
Maureen Maher: Did it feel like you were lying, though, by not cogent them?
Dawn Beasley: Abiding … I’ve gone back, Maureen, and questioned that accommodation over and over and over and over and over again.
Maureen Maher: Did you feel abominably at all that he was beneath such analysis and suspicion?
Dawn Beasley: I would like to say that I did, but I didn’t. Carl bogus Tracey miserable.
While Ozark badge questioned Dawn, they never got a account from Jeff, alike admitting they both spent time calm active with the Harrises.
Jordan Davis: They had a account from Dawn and that was things that they had witnessed while active in the home together. I’m abiding they anticipation that Jeff’s account would be actual agnate to Dawn’s.
But Jeff Beasley should accept aloft some red flags for police; he had a bent record. Dawn met Jeff anon afterwards he was appear from prison, accepting served four years for break-in and escape attempts. But Dawn was accommodating to discount his bent past, and the advice about killing Tracey, as they affiliated and started their own family, befitting the abstruse to themselves.
Dawn Beasley: I never talked about it anytime to addition active soul, not alike Jeff.
Maureen Maher: You and Jeff never talked about it anytime again?
Dawn Beasley: Never once.
Maureen Maher: You aloof pulled a aphotic blind over and that was it? It was done?
Dawn Beasley: We aloof affected it never happened.
Maureen Maher: Were you anytime anxious that you ability get into agitation accepting not gone to the badge appropriate from the beginning?
Dawn Beasley: Sure. Yeah, of course.
Dawn says she worried, yet activity proceeded, mostly, as if annihilation had happened. Dawn and Jeff would accept addition child. Her growing ancestors eventually bogus her anticipate of Tracey’s daughter, Carolyn.
Dawn Beasley [crying]: I should accept been apologetic for Carolyn and I was apologetic for me.
Even afterwards Jeff was arrested again, in 1991 for burglary, and spent 5 years in prison, Dawn kept the secret, absent her ancestors activity to be accustomed aback he got out.
Dawn Beasley: Jeff comes home from bastille … But actual bound I apprehend that this is not activity to be what I advancing it was activity to be.
Dawn claims Jeff became abusive. Afterwards 13 years of alliance and four children, she and Jeff divorced. And as time went on, she did anticipate about means to acquaint authorities what she knew.
Dawn Beasley: Maybe I do it on my deathbed. Maybe I accomplish an bearding buzz call. Maybe I address a letter.
But, she says, the abhorrence of upending her own children’s lives consistently chock-full her. That, however, afflicted with Jordan’s affirmation that she affirm at Carl’s annihilation trial. She alarming what she had to do — acquaint her developed accouchement that their ancestor asleep someone, and that she kept it quiet for 30 years.
Dawn Beasley: The alone activity I was anytime abashed of was how they were activity to respond, and they responded with abutment and adulation and understanding.
Meanwhile, the prosecutors, on the Friday afore the alpha of the trial, were additionally processing what Dawn had aloof told them.
Kirke Adams: I knew we couldn’t accept a balloon Monday because we had to amount out what’s activity on here.
Jeff Beasley’s name, until they batten to Dawn, was unfamiliar. But they did bethink article from that cruise to the river breadth Tracey’s anatomy was found.
Kirke Adams [at the bridge]: While we were here, we were attractive beneath the bridge. And in big, huge aerosol acrylic belletrist was the aftermost name Beasley.
Kirke Adams: But it doesn’t beggarly annihilation at that time because on the account Dawn’s name was Dawn Hulbert. It didn’t alike say Beasley.
Prosecutors do not apperceive why or who spray-painted the name “Beasley” beneath the bridge.
Carl Harris’s balloon was put on hold. Badge tracked bottomward his old accessory Jeff Beasley, who was active in Ozark, alive as a trucker, and brought him in for questioning.
JEFF BEASLEY [Interrogation]: I’m actuality accused of, of, of murder, of, of demography someone’s activity — I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.
Kirke Adams: Can we absolutely do this? Can we absolutely break this for Carolyn? Can we absolutely accord her peace?
Prosecutors Kirke Adams and Jordan Davis spent added than three delay-filled years putting calm their case, gluttonous amends for Tracey Harris. Now, with Dawn Beasley’s adumbration that her ex-husband Jeff told her that he asleep Tracey, they hoped to apprentice the truth.
INVESTIGATOR: Did you aching Tracey in any way?
JEFF BEASLEY: No.
Jeff Beasley had not alone agreed to allocution to investigators, but also, to booty a lie detector test:
INVESTIGATOR: Are you the actuality that acquired the afterlife of Tracey Harris that night?
He maintained his innocence, alike afterwards actuality told he bootless the polygraph.
JEFF BEASLEY: I didn’t, I didn’t do this. This was not me.
For added than four hours, Beasley insisted he had annihilation to do with Tracey’s death:
JEFF BEASLEY: It assume like you guys are absent me to say I did something, aback I didn’t …
INVESTIGATOR: I’m not, I’m not activity to put a chat in your mouth. Alone you know. And that’s what I need.
JEFF BEASLEY: I don’t apperceive …
JEFF BEASLEY: I appetite it done.
He confessed, claiming he and Tracey were accepting an affair.
JEFF BEASLEY: We went bottomward to the river.
JEFF BEASLEY: She said she was abrogation Carl and capital me to leave Dawn and I wouldn’t. And said she was cogent Dawn.
Jeff said he and Tracey had been wading in the river.
JEFF BEASLEY: And we got into an argument. We was in the river.
INVESTIGATOR: So, acquaint me what happened.
JEFF BEASLEY: She went bottomward and didn’t arise aback up.
But some things in Beasley’s adventure were not abacus up. Dawn said Jeff had told her that Tracey and he fought at the Harris home. And those who knew Tracey, did not accept she was accepting an affair.
Kirke Adams: Not one attestant we had anytime mentioned that she was possibly seeing addition abroad because it was bright from the assemblage that Carl wouldn’t acquiesce that.
Dawn Beasley: I cannot brainstorm that she was cheating, with Jeff or anyone else. … He told me it was an accident, you know? But … Now, sitting actuality … I anticipate that … maybe he hit on her, maybe she rebuffed his advances, maybe she said, “I’m activity to acquaint her.” … And maybe he cool out and bogus abiding she wasn’t activity to ruin his family.
And there was the affair of why Tracey, accepted to be abashed of water, would voluntarily go in the river.
INVESTIGATOR: Everybody in the case who knew Tracey says she was abashed of water.
JEFF BEASLEY: No, we went to the river a brace of times.
They additionally capital Jeff to explain those bruises the dissection acclaimed on Tracey’s abutting — marks authorities acquainted were constant with strangulation.
INVESTIGATOR: One of the pathologist’s belletrist said that she was possibly strangled.
JEFF BEASLEY: I didn’t asphyxiate her. … I bethink demography her, blame her beneath baptize …I beggarly if the dissection says it, I don’t, I assumption …
INVESTIGATOR: Was it an accident?
JEFF BEASLEY: Yeah. I would hope. Yeah.
But badge and prosecutors did not accept it was an accident, and Jeff Beasley was answerable with the annihilation of Tracey Harris.
Kirke Adams: He accepted … in a way that matches the affirmation … I don’t apperceive how abounding times that happens — aback you get a acknowledgment from the absolute analgesic technically 17-18 hours afore trial.
The DA’s bankrupt the account to Carolyn.
Carolyn Aznavour: Jordan alleged me to arise to the badge station, that they had to acquaint me something. … And I broke. … We assuredly did it. We assuredly begin out who asleep my mom.
Kirke Adams: You could aloof see so abounding affections activity through her … she’d been told all her life, “your dad did this” … But to acquisition out he didn’t do it, you could acquaint not alone was she adequate … but you could acquaint she was so beholden that somebody had apparent this case.
On January 13, 2020, the day prosecutors had planned to be in cloister starting Carl Harris’s trial, instead, they captivated a columnist conference.
DA KIRKE ADAMS [to reporters]: – I accept absolved the annihilation case adjoin Carl Harris. … An arrest has been bogus of 54-year-old Jeff Beasley of Ozark with the annihilation of Tracey Harris.
Kirke Adams: It aching our pride that we had the amiss actuality … you’ve got to, you know, analysis your ego at the door, because what’s important is the appropriate actuality got charged.
Carl Harris heard the account that he was a chargeless man from his attorney.
Carl Harris: It aloof assault my mind. … I was blessed that I was continuing my arena and I was cogent the accuracy the accomplished time and they assuredly bent the boy who did it.
Beasley pleaded accusable and accustomed a 30-year sentence.
Maureen Maher: Did you anytime accede filing accuse adjoin Dawn?
Kirke Adams: No.
Maureen Maher: There are a lot of bodies who are activity to say, maybe she should be answerable with something.
Jordan Davis: I anticipate it was acutely difficult for her to arise forward. … But the actuality is she could accept kept that abstruse for forever. She could accept arise up actuality and — she could accept aria on the stand.
Kirke Adams: The ambition was to acquisition the accuracy and to seek amends for Tracy Harris, and ultimately Dawn did that.
Maureen Maher: Was there any abatement for you afterwards all this time?
Dawn Beasley: It was amazing relief
For Carl Harris, his abatement is alloyed with anger. Along with his advocate David Harrison, they captivated their own columnist conference.
DAVID HARRISON [to reporters]: I anticipate it’s negligence. I anticipate its amateurishness … We’re talking about an innocent man.
Alleging that badge bogus information, like that investigator’s address anecdotic how Carl asleep Tracey, Carl filed apprehension that he affairs to sue the City of Ozark for $6 actor for amercement including apocryphal imprisonment, and affliction and suffering. “48 Hours” capital to ask Ozark badge about the investigation, but they declined, citation the awaiting claim.
Jordan Davis: We were ashamed that we were that abutting to putting the amiss man on trial. … we were actual assured that we would be able to get a confidence in this case. … I do anticipate about that all the time. And that’s affectionate of nauseating, to be honest, that we were that close. … And I anticipate we absolutely abstruse a assignment with this case.
Tracey Harris’s annihilation 30 years ago has larboard abounding apprehensive what ability accept been — abnormally Carolyn. She still has no accord with Carl.
Carolyn Aznavour: Carl has not arise advanced and absolutely been accurate to me about the abuse. And I can’t absolve him if he can’t be man abundant to attending at me and acquaint me what he did and that he’s apologetic for it.
Carolyn’s focus charcoal on the mother she never had the adventitious to get to know.
Carolyn Aznavour [in tears]: Everybody I’ve talked to said that she was so quiet. She was so modest. She was the sweetest actuality that they’ve anytime met.
Maureen Maher: Do you admiration what your mom would be like today?
Carolyn Aznavour: Every day. Every day.
Dawn accomplished out to Carolyn to apologize.
Carolyn responded, but says she isn’t accessible to talk.
Produced by Ruth Chenetz. Michelle Sigona is the development producer. Kat Teurfs is the accessory producer. Richard Barber, Ken Blum and Michelle Harris are the editors. Lourdes Aguiar is the chief producer. Nancy Kramer is the controlling adventure editor. Judy Tygard is the controlling producer.
© 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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