Prison Wives Club husband Michael Harris resentenced for murder conviction, now eligible for parole

Prison Wives Club Ana Harris husband Michael Harris photo

As we previously reported, Lifetime will be premiering the new docuseries Prison Wives Club on October 28, sharing the stories of four women married to convicted felons.

One of the show’s stars, Ana Harris, will surely be sparking a number of debates. Not only did she marry a convicted murderer who was already more than two decades into a sentence of life without parole, but her husband recently made headlines when a judge erased his original sentence and resentenced him to 25 years to life, which made him eligible for parole immediately!

So how did all this happen? The short story is that Michael Harris (seen with Ana in the photo above) was convicted of aggravated first degree murder when he was only 15 years old, and the Supreme Court decided in 2012 (Miller v. Alabama) that sentencing minors to life without parole was unconstitutional.

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, Michael Harris’ sentencing was revisited and a Pierce County judge decided on August 22 that Harris should be resentenced to 25 years to life.

The long story is a lot more startling. Let’s start from the beginning.

Prison Wives Club Michael Harris mug shotPaul Wang murderer Michael Harris mug shot profile

On December 20, 1986 Michael Harris (mug shot photos above) and his 13-year-old accomplice, Barry Massey, broke into the home of 75-year-old Martha Davis, who was asleep in a chair in her living room at the time.

According to the police report, she awoke to find two masked men (later revealed to be Harris and Massey by their own confession) who instructed her to remain still as they closed the blinds and ransacked the house.

Most every drawer was opened, closet emptied, and Christmas present opened by Massey and Harris. When Davis attempted to notify authorities by getting to the panic switch on her alarm, she was hit in the face and knocked unconscious.

She was later revived by police and it was determined the two suspects had stolen $120, Davis’ house keys, a garage door opener, and a gun.

Michael Harris and Barry Massey would later decide to use the gun they had stolen to rob the Steilacoom Marina store, because of its isolated location “with one dude there.” They first attempted the hold up on January 9, 1986, but their attempt was thwarted because the marina’s owner, Paul Wang, had already locked up and gone home for the evening.

Michael Harris Prison Wives Club 1989
^ Michael Harris from 1989 PBS documentary about the killing

The two returned the next day, January 10, and entered the marina store several times waiting for the right opportunity. According to their own confessions, it was their intent all along to not only rob Wang, but to murder him. When they decided the time was right, they didn’t even don the masks they had brought.

Paul Wang was shot in the head execution-style, as well as in the stomach. He was also stabbed with a knife seven times. The knife was left in his throat.

According to Harris and Massey’s confessions, it was Massey who shot Wang before they both took their loot and stashed it.

The two then returned to the marina where they said Wang was still alive. It was then that Massey reportedly stabbed him repeatedly. Massey would later change his story, telling police he was afraid and intimidated by Harris.

Michael Harris murder victim Paul Wang family photo
^ Paul Wang and his family from 1989 PBS documentary about the killing

The two teens reportedly took $140, a couple of fishing poles, candy, and an assortment of Garbage Pail Kids stickers.

Both were tried as adults and convicted of aggravated first degree murder. The prosecution did not ask for the death penalty, and the only other punishment allowed in the state of Washington was a life sentence without parole.

After the Supreme Court ruled that life without parole is an unconstitutional sentence for a minor, Michael Harris (and Barry Massey) appealed their sentences. A Pierce County judge ruled on August 22, 2014 that Michael Harris be resentenced to 25 years to life.

Here is a video of 43-year-old Michael Harris appearing in Pierce County Superior Court for the resentencing hearing:

“It’s not easy. Of course a long time has passed. I’m not the same person. I’m not that reckless kid,” Michael Harris says in the clip. He then said of Wang’s family, “I hope that one day they can begin to heal and they could find it in their heart to somehow forgive me.”

Prison Wives Club Ana's husband Michael Harris

Paul Wang’s family has not forgiven Harris. His widow Shirley wrote in a letter to the court, “My late husband Paul would have been 69 years old this year and we would be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary. Instead, he is in a grave and I am alone.”

The resentencing still has to go before the state Indeterminate Sentencing Review Board, who will determine if Harris (and Massey) will be paroled or remain behind bars.

The prosecution is pushing for the latter. “We believe that the life without parole sentence that was imposed originally was appropriate,” said deputy prosecutor Jared Ausserer.

Towards the end of the clip it mentions that Harris wishes to be released so that he can move on with “his new wife Ana,” who could be seen in the court room. Also in the courtroom (behind Ana) is her Prison Wives Club co-star Kate:

Prison Wives Club Ana Harris and Kate DeMarco in court

According to Ana, she and Michael have been married for a little over a year after initially meeting via But, judging from the promotional photos released by Lifetime last week, Ana was planning for the wedding ceremony itself, complete with a wedding dress, while the cameras were rolling for the show:

Ana Harris Prison Wives Club wedding dress - click to enlarge

Prison Wives Club premieres Tuesday, October 28, at 10/9c on Lifetime. Be sure to check out out other Prison Wives Club husband profiles including LaQuisha Hicks’ husband Phillip Hicks and Kate DeMarco’s husband Carlo DeMarco.

Prison Wives Club Ana with husband Michael Harris

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