Dr. Jeffrey Harris convicted of manslaughter in wife’s poisoning death

A Washington state doctor who insisted on treating his ailing wife with a cocktail of alternative medicines was found guilty of manslaughter Thursday in her poisoning death.

Dr. Jeffrey Harris, 59, was convicted by a Manhattan jury following a month-long trial where prosecutors argued his obsession with the dietary supplement Selenium had led his wife of 11 years, Tammy Harris, to fatally overdose on the drug during a 2018 visit to New York City.

The doctor’s head dropped down for a brief moment before he composed himself as the jury delivered the verdict.

He was led out of the Manhattan Supreme Courtroom in handcuffs, dressed in a dark suit, while his son looked on from the second row.

Several doctors had diagnosed Tammy with lupus — but Jeffrey, who specialized in internal medicine, rejected advice from other medical professionals and made it his own personal mission to cure his wife, prosecutors said.

She died in February 2018 at Lenox Hill Hospital while the couple were on a trip to the Big Apple.

Dr. Jeffrey Harris was convicted of manslaughter in the second degree by a Manhattan jury Thursday.
Steven Hirsch

Her death was later ruled a homicide, caused by an overdose of Selenium.

Prosecutors have said that the drugs were fed to her by her husband — who started the alternative medicine treatment after Tammy began suffering from mysterious aches and pains in 2017.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Heather Pearson said in closing arguments Wednesday that Jeffrey Harris “recklessly chose to disregard every rule and every limit” that he knew in dealing with Selenium.

“You don’t get to be so sure of your ideas that you watch your wife whither away and die in front of you,” Pearson said, according to Gothamist.

Tammy and Jeffrey Harris were married for 11 years.

Earlier in the trial, jurors were presented with horrifying images of Tammy’s physical deterioration, including grotesque pictures of mysterious red rashes across her legs and pieces of hair missing from her head from her autopsy.

Dr. Kristen Gilmore Roman, a former city medical examiner, testified that Harris had 1,700 micrograms per liter of Selenium in her bloodwork at the time of her autopsy — more than 10 times the normal range.

“Tammy Harris was a very sickly-looking woman,” Roman said.

“She was very thin. She was missing a lot of her hair. She looked a lot older than the age that was stated.”

Sarah Hopkins-Hubbard testified against her step-dad earlier in the trial.
Steven Hirsch

Sarah Hopkins-Hubbard, Tammy’s 41-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, told jurors she witnessed first-hand the destruction caused by step-dad.

She testified about how she saw her mom turn a “yellowing-orange” color after a stint at a Spokane hospital when Jeffrey refused to give Tammy proper treatment and stayed the course with homeopathic remedies.

Hopkins-Hubbard said that sometimes she “couldn’t count” how many pills her step-dad was feeding her mom — including detailing one night when her mom started hallucinating after taking so many painkillers.

“There was one night where Jeff had given mom so much pain medication that she started seeing frogs jumping on her walls in the bedroom,” Hopkins-Hubbard testified on Sept. 28.

Harris (right) stands next to his attorney, Jason Goldman.
Steven Hirsch

Jeffrey Harris, who had been out on bail during the trial, was remanded by Justice Curtis Farber following the conviction.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Tammy Harris had been “full of joy” and “loved by many” – before her husband’s “reckless, unethical treatment” caused her life to end.

“Jeffrey Harris ignored the pleas of doctor after doctor and prevented Tammy’s family and friends from getting her the care she truly needed,” Bragg said.

“I thank the members of the jury for their service on this case, which required them to digest extremely disturbing images and testimony about the final years of Tammy’s life,” he continued.

Harris faces up to 15 years at his sentencing in December.
Steven Hirsch

“Now, we will seek a prison sentence appropriate for this horrific crime.”

Harris faces up to 15 years in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for December 15.

His attorney, Jason Goldman, said that he hopes the judge will be lenient on Harris at sentencing.

“We are disappointed to say the least but will turn our attention towards sentencing where I am hopeful the Judge will be lenient on Dr. Harris, a man who has already lost so much,” Goldman said.

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