"I have been through so much hell with him. I loved him very much. He slept with every woman he could. I had it."
This is what former Madeira School headmistress Jean Struven Harris reportedly told police last March 10, at the time of her arrest in the fatal shooting of Dr. Herman Tarnower, creater of the so-called Scarsdale diet, at his $500,000 Purchase, N.Y., home.
Harris was quoted in documents filed at her arraignment today in a Westchester County courtroom. She appeared briefly at the proceeding and pleaded innocent to the second-degree murder charges in the death of the 69-year-old bachelor doctor.
Harris, 57, former headmistress of the Madeira School near McLean, Va., was well-groomed and appeared rested after a 10-day stay at an undisclosed hospital where she reportedly underwent mental and physical treatment.
During her arraignment before Judge John Couzens, she looked frequently at the gallery of reporters before being led away by sheriff's deputies.
Her calm and rested appearance today was in sharp contrast to the distraught woman who, according to court papers, admitted the killing to police.
"I think I have killed him," she reportedly told officers just before they discovered Tarnower in the bedroom of his home, bleeding to death from four gunshot wounds. "He hit me," she reportedly said. "He hit me a lot."
Harris appeared in Harrison Town Court two weeks ago with a bruised lip. Her lawyer also said she had a bruise on her arm that ran from the elbow to the shoulder.
Prosecutors said the killing resulted from a love triangle as the doctor ended his 15-year affair with Harris in favor of his nurse, Lynne Tryforos.
Tarnower had entertained Tryforos, 40, at his home the night of his death.
In his will, Tarnower left Harris $220,000 and Tryforos $200,000. Under state law, Harris would inherit nothing if she were convicted.
Motions in the case must be submitted by May 13. The trial is not expected to begin until late fall.
Harris told police at the time of the killing that she drove from Virginia to Tarnower's home with a loaded .32-caliber revolver to ask Tarnower to kill her.
During a struggle in which Harris said Tarnower hit her, the gun went off several times.
"I remember holding the gun and I shot him in the hand," Harris said. "I wanted to die. Why should he die?"
Harris was discovered by police as she backed out of Tarnower's driveway, her fashionable clothes drenched by a rainstorm.
"She said it was ironic that Dr. Tarnower was dying and she was living, since it was she who wanted to die and he who wanted to live," the court papers disclosed.
The papers were attached to the murder indictment handed over to defense lawyer Joel Aurnou at his client's arraignment.
Harris has been free on $40,000 bail on the charge of intentional murder.
Judge Couzens continued her bail and gave Harris permission to leave Westchester County over the weekend to return to Virginia to pick up some personal belongings.
After the brief arraignment, Harris was led away by sheriff's deputies for fingerprinting. She then left with her lawyer through a basement exit of the courthouse.