As Dr. Herman Tarnower was carried dying out of his home, Jean S. Harris, the woman accused of shooting him, fainted in the arms of one of the first police officers to arrive on the scene, the officer testified today.
Upon regaining consciousness, Harris, the doctor's longtime companion, refused medical attention for herself -- and also declined to listen to another police officer reading her rights. "I've had my rights read to me three times," the former Madeirsa School headmistress said, according to testimony. "I don't need them."
The testimony came on the third day of pretrail hearings to determine the admissibility of incriminating statements allegedly made by Harris on the night in March when the author of "The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet" was shot.The hearings are also to decide whether the alleged murder weapon can be used as evidence in her trial.
Harris, free on $40,000 bond, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder.
Harrison police detective Arthur Siciliano, under grueling cross-examination today, stuck firmly to his earlier testimony that he had arrived at Tarnower's $500,000 home and had been met by Tarnower's housekeeper and Harris. He said Harris told him the doctor had been shot. He testified that when he asked who did it, she said, "I did it." He said he had informed Harris of her rights and she told him the gun was in her car and directed him to it.
Throughout the proceedings today, the 57-year-old Harris made notes on a yellow pad. During the morning break she was in a fine enough humor to walk over to the courtroom artist and take a look at her work. "Not too many wrinkles, this time, please," said Harris.
"Well, dear, we all fight them," said the artist, and they laughed and Harris went back to her seat.