Crime

A Fresno man shot his wife in a jealous rage. But she got the last word in court

Harry Gordon, 68, was convicted of attempted murder on Oct. 4, 2019.
Harry Gordon, 68, was convicted of attempted murder on Oct. 4, 2019. Fresno Police Department

Harry Gordon, the Fresno man who tried to kill his estranged wife because he thought she was having an affair, was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday.

The 68-year-old Gordon was convicted Oct. 4 for attempted murder and corporal injury of a spouse.

The jury deliberated just three hours before returning its guilty verdict. On the charges, the judge gave Gordon an indeterminate sentence of life, plus a sentence of 25-years-to-life in prison. He will be eligible for parole.

Gordon has not denied shooting his wife four times on Jan. 29, 2016, but his defense attorney argued during trial he was suffering from mental illness.

His wife said during Tuesday’s hearing that she didn’t believe him.

“Harry made a string of choices,” she said. “He turned away from reasonable counseling not because he was mentally disturbed but because he puts his wants and needs above everyone else.”

Gordon’s wife said she is still living with physical pain of being shot several times. She suffered major injuries, including the loss of a kidney. She endured multiple surgeries and a long recovery.

She also lives with the emotional pain of knowing her husband tried to kill her.

“For months I asked ‘why?’” she said. “Why did he shoot me?”

During his trial, witnesses said Gordon believed his wife was having an affair with a relative, although there was no proof of it. A local psychiatrist Howard Terrell, who was hired by the defense, testified Gordon was hearing voices telling him to kill his wife.

Gordon’s sister Debbie Williams said her brother has struggled with depression, but has never been violent or abusive. She said Gordon has suffered through several life-altering events in his life, including his declining health and the death of his father. She said he was also devastated when his wife asked him for a divorce.

“I do believe he is remorseful,” Williams said.

Prosecutor Elana Smith told Judge John E. Vogt that Gordon still believes his estranged wife was having an affair and the trial was just a sham.

Judge Vogt said he was also surprised to learn Gordon is still holding onto the belief that his wife was unfaithful. Vogt found Gordon to be a narcissist who is only interested in his own needs.

“Everything that has been pointed out here is sadly true,” Vogt said. “And it points to a great tragedy that you have to take responsibility for.”

A Valley native, Robert has worked at The Fresno Bee since 1994, covering various topics including education, business and agriculture. He currently covers courts.
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