Murder of a Preacher's Wife: Harris, Rebecca, Daniel

Closing a Chapter
Harris faces his victims’ children for the first time in 33 years.

“Let’s go back to that time there at the home,” Dr. Phil says. He helps Harris clarify that he doesn’t remember having three guns with him or shooting Robert and Ramona Nichols. “Other than what was told by the Horry Watts confederates about their father having an affair with your wife, you had no animosity toward these people at all?” Dr. Phil asks Harris.

“Exactly,” he says.

“They are, of course, very interested in who it was and what the mindset was of the person who killed their mother and shot their father, and you’re saying you have nothing to offer there because you don’t remember it,” Dr. Phil says.

“No, sir. I do not,” Harris says.

Rebecca speaks to Harris.

“I remember everything.”

[AD]Daniel tells Harris, “My sister and I have put the pieces together and tried to move on in life. This is a big day. I know for a long time, you had to sit and think about it, while we’ve tried to move on,” he says.

Harris again expresses his desire all along to talk with them. “I had discussed with my son on many visits what I could do to maybe one day have this meeting. And I really didn’t know how to go about it. I didn’t know how you’d react. I didn’t know how you’d feel about it, and I still continued, I kept asking people and wondering what you looked like, what your life was like,” he says.Dr. Phil points out that Rebecca is almost the same age as her mother was when she was killed.

“I’m 41, and Mom was 42,” Rebecca adds.

Dr. Phil shows a side-by-side photo of Rebecca and her mother, Ramona, noting how alike they look. Similarly, he shows a photo of Daniel next to his father’s photo, who also look very alike.

“Your parents would be so proud of the two of you,” Dr. Phil says.

Dr. Phil asks what Harris whispered to them when they met.

“He said, ‘I’m so sorry, and I love you both,’” Rebecca says.

“And he waited a long time,” Daniel adds.

“I believe that he’s truly sorry for what he did,” Rebecca says, turning to Harris. “I do, and I accept that apology even though we made a choice to forgive you a long time ago. We made a decision to move forward with our life because we didn’t know we would have this opportunity. This is just an amazing God-thing to me that got you here and us here on this show, so we could show people that we went through a horrendous, just unbelievable experience, and that you can somehow work through a process of forgiveness and healing and have hope on the other end of it. And I know it’s not easy for us, and I know it’s not easy for you and your family, because they missed out on all of those years with you.”

Daniel says, “We had to walk through this for years, but what we saw is our family forgive. That’s what set us up as being able to move through this.” Daniel says forgiveness wasn’t a single moment for him, but rather many moments in time where he had to re-process his emotions and determine where his heart was.

[AD]“Do you believe he should be out of prison?” Dr. Phil asks Daniel.  

“That’s a difficult question,” he says.

“Honestly, some of our family would say no, only because they miss our mom so much,” Rebecca says. She tells Harris, “Some of them couldn’t even believe that we were coming here today, and I had to go back and explain to them how we forgave you and that we wanted this opportunity, this chance. I don’t know. I can’t answer that because we’re here now, and so, I would hope that since our parents don’t have a second chance, that you’re able to take your second chance and make it count.”Robert Nichols recorded his personal story on audiotape before he died. He included a message for Harris, who hears them for the first time.

Harris hears the voice from the past and responds.

Rebecca explains that her teen years were tough because she was very angry at God when her father died. “Part of the reason why he passed away at 46 years old was because he lost our mom, and he could not recover from that. He could not recover from knowing that he had a gun hanging on the wall that night, and not harmed you but defended our family. He could not let it go. He couldn’t forgive himself,” she tells Harris. Rebecca says after of couple years of being angry, she realized she needed God more than she needed to be mad at God.

Rebecca and Daniel have an extraordinary message for Harris.

Dr. Phil asks about Rebecca’s book, The Devil in Pew Number Seven. Rebecca says it took longer to write than she thought because it was “emotional time travel” having to look at old news articles of Horry Watt’s reign of terror and then the shooting.

Harris grows emotional and wipes away his tears.

Rebecca says when writing the book got tough, she told herself, “This is going to help other people. You have to share it. You can’t make it through hurt like this and then keep it to yourself. You should be able to share it with other people.”

[AD]“It is inspirational. There’s no question about it,” Dr. Phil says.

At the end of the show, Dr. Phil tells Rebecca and Daniel, “You two are excellent examples of what we all want to aspire to.”

Rebecca’s book, The Devil in Pew Number Seven, is available in stores now.