The murder trial of an Ahwatukee Foothills man, 43-year-old James Cornell Harrod, may be put off until September or October, if a defense attorney gets his preference. The attorney, Michael Bernays, also mentioned "other suspects" in the case, "including some with `mob' connections."|
"There are all kinds of suspects that have nothing to do with Mr. Harrod," he said.
Bernays and his law partner, Tonya McMath, told Judge Ronald S. Reinstein, who was sitting in for Judge Armando de Leon on February 14, that they would be ready for trial in September or October. "There are some 10,000 pages of documents to read and organize," said Bernays. "There is a tremendous amount of work to do." He also reminded the judge that the Phoenix Police Department had investigated the case since 1988, but Harrod wasn't arrested until September 15, 1995, leaving only 18 months to cover the information from the lengthy investigation.
Prosecutor Paul Ahler told the court there are about 27 witnesses in the case, some from out of state. He told Reinstein the estimated length of trial is "three to four weeks."
Bernays said there are several cassette tapes of witness interviews by investigators or prosecutors that haven't yet been transcribed, and some re-interviewing may be necessary. The prosecution is "still getting investigation done by the State," he added.
Bernays also told Reinstein that he and McMath, the sole practioners in their firm, are involved in several other lengthy major cases that are scheduled to be heard during the spring and summer. Harrod "gets a lot of our attention," he told the judge.
Harrod is accused of first-degree murder and burglary in the death of a prominant Phoenix socialite, Jeanne Tovrea, 55. She was smothered and shot several times on the morning of April 1, 1988. The victim was the widow of millionaire Edward Tovrea, vice-president of T and C Cattle and a member of one of Arizona's pioneer families. The family home, Tovrea Castle, is a local Phoenix landmark.
A World War II veteran who was a prisoner of war, Edward Tovrea died four years prior to his wife's murder. He had left most of his estate to Jeanne Tovrea, with a trust fund for his three children from a previous marriage. That trust fund was reportedly payable upon Jeanne's death.
Harrod remains in custody, with no bail having ever been set, as is common in capital crimes, according to Bernays.
The Jeanne Tovrea Murder Listing
3.(page 3) Death of An Heiress