COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by mom_in_il on Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:58 pm

Click here: JUSTIN ROSS HARRIS JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW

Video from ladibug's post above ...
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by ladibug on Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:18 am

Brother of Georgia hot car dad slams investigators for ‘slinging mud;’ review of surveillance tape raises questions: report
Justin Ross Harris' brother said the case against the 33-year-old dad was a 'character assassination' aimed at making Harris out to be a monster.
BY PHILIP CAULFIELD    NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, July 21, 2014, 1:18 PM A A A

Justin Ross Harris is being accused of murder and child cruelty after leaving Cooper alone in a hot SUV while he went to work on June 18.
The cop brother of a Georgia dad accused of killing his toddler son by locking him in a sweltering car called the investigators' case a "character assassination" meant to vilify an innocent man and loving pop.

In his first public comments, Michael Baygents told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution accused "hot car dad" Justin Ross Harris has been unfairly tarred as a monster based on flaws and half-truths peddled by prosecutors and investigators.

"It's been frustrating to see it portrayed the way it's been by the police department," Baygents, a sergeant at a police training center in Alabama, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"I'm very angry with them. I think they rushed to judgment. I think [Cobb County Police Detective Phil] Stoddard rushed to judgment. I think he made a terrible mistake."

Baygents said he and Harris were planning a cruise with their families in October.

Harris had "hounded" him about it, Baygents said, and made sure Cooper would have a blast by seeking out a boat with a water slide and inviting a family whose son was a pal.

Harris, 33, looks on at the Cobb County Magistrate Court in Marietta, Ga. He was ordered held without bail and could face the death penalty if convicted.
"I know Ross. Cooper was his buddy. To see him portrayed as a terrible parent is just not right," Baygents told the Journal-Constitution.

Harris, 33, could face the death penalty for allegedly leaving the 22-month-old boy in his car all day while he went to work at Home Depot in Marietta on June 18.

In the same report, the Journal-Constitution said it reviewed video surveillance that served as the basis of Stoddard's bombshell testimony at a preliminary hearing on July 3.

In some cases, the footage contradicted what Stoddard and the prosecutor said, the newspaper said.

For example, Stoddard said on the stand that on the day the boy died, Harris returned to his Hyundai Tucson at around lunchtime to drop some bags off after running an errand.

Harris' brother, Michale Baygents, a police officer in Alabama, said investigators unfairly vilified his brother. Baygents said he and his family were planning a cruise with Harris, his wife Leanna (above) and Cooper.
The detective said Harris opened the driver's side door and stuck his head inside, where he would have had a "clear view" of his child, strapped in his car seat and suffering in oven-like temps.

The Journal-Constitution said the tape clearly showed Harris head above the door frame the whole time.

The incident took about three seconds, and only Harris' arm and shoulder entered the SUV, the report said.

The report also said the tape contradicted Stoddard's testimony that Harris paused while walking backs to the store and eyed a man approaching his car.

Harris was looking at his phone the whole time, and appeared "oblivious" to the man passing by his SUV, as well as a second man who walked by, the newspaper said.

‘Cooper was his buddy. To see him portrayed as a terrible parent is just not right,’ Baygents told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Prosecutors also said when Harris first arrived at work, he sat in his car for 30 seconds before getting out and heading into work.

The Journal-Constitution said it was less than 15 seconds — Harris parked, gathered a bag and other belonging and got out, the video showed.

Meanwhile, Baygents took aim at reports that Harris had large insurance policies on his son and had instructed family members how to cash them in after he was ordered held without bond.

Baygents said the money from the insurance policies would go toward paying for the boy's funeral and that Harris and his wife were not in financial trouble.

"To think that he killed Cooper for $27,000 is a joke," Baygents told the newspaper.

He added, “That probable cause hearing was nothing but a character assassination.

“It was slinging mud at Ross. It was to vilify him in the media and the public and turn the tide of public opinion away from him,” he said.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/brother-georgia-hot-car-dad-slams-investigators-slinging-mud-article-1.1874661


Last edited by ladibug on Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:22 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : 'Cuz I'm using an iPad!)
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by ladibug on Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:26 am

And this:

published Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
Authorities may have overstated case in Georgia toddler's heat death

A Cobb County, Ga., sheriff's deputy talks to Justin Ross Harris, right, the father of a toddler who died after police say he was left in a hot car for about seven hours, as he appears for his bond hearing in Cobb County Magistrate Court on July 3 in Marietta, Ga.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
ATLANTA — Two weeks ago, a Cobb County detective sat in a courtroom and presented a barrage of details that turned Justin Ross Harris into a pariah, a man widely seen as a monster who purposely left his 22-month-old son in a sweltering car to die.

But a review by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of some of the state’s evidence shows authorities may have overstated some of their case during the July 3 hearing. A close review by the AJC of video from a surveillance camera at the Home Depot office complex where Harris worked revealed discrepancies — some striking — with assertions made by Detective Phil Stoddard on the witness stand.

In addition, an exclusive interview with Harris’ brother, Michael Baygents, and a review of the transcript of the three-hour hearing reveal an emerging counter-narrative to the damning story about Harris that swayed public opinion. For instance, a thorough reading of the transcript suggests that prosecutors may have created a false impression by claiming that he searched the Internet for information about children and pets dying in hot cars.

Also, Harris’ brother told the AJC that he and Harris were in the process of booking a cruise for the two families and chose one based on the activities it offered for children.

On the other hand, the defense faces — at the very least — a mass of circumstantial evidence that, in its sheer variety and volume, presents a formidable challenge. Many points the Harris team has not publicly addressed yet at all.

Baygents, himself a veteran cop, said he would never have imagined that a father could forget his son in a car — until Cooper died on June 18.

”This is a strong topic — when a child dies inside a car,” he said. “I used to think, ‘Seriously, how could somebody do this?’ But knowing my brother and knowing how much he loved his son, I no longer think that.”

Baygents also criticized Cobb’s police investigation.

”It’s been frustrating to see it portrayed the way it’s been by the police department,” said Baygents, a sergeant and an instructor for the Law Enforcement Academy in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “I’m very angry with them. I think they rushed to judgment. I think Stoddard rushed to judgment. I think he made a terrible mistake.”

The detective’s testimony at the bond hearing that day has been likened to legal carpet bombing. It ranged from what Harris looked at on the Internet to his seeking sexual gratification in cyberspace to his finances.

The information was circumstantial and piecemeal, Harris’ attorney, H. Maddox Kilgore, argued in his closing statement. “The state wants to suggest all of these little, these little soundbites all thrown together somehow constitute some grand design,” he said. There is no direct evidence, he said, that Harris was aware that he was leaving Cooper in the car, only a cloud of inferences.

Nevertheless, the cumulative impact of the prosecution’s presentation persuaded the judge that the murder charge against Harris can be presented to a grand jury and that he should be held without bond. Police charged Harris with second degree child cruelty and felony murder, charges that do not require a finding of intent. A grand jury could indict him on those or other charges.

Kilgore would not comment for this story. Nor would Cobb police officials or the district attorney’s office.

”As you know, this case continues to be very active and fluid and the investigation is not complete,” Cobb police spokesman Officer M.W. Bowman said in an email.

The most sensational testimony on July 3 was that Harris sexted several women throughout the day as his son died outside. Kilgore objected repeatedly that the testimony was irrelevant and should not be allowed. He argued that, however distasteful his client’s activities, they said nothing about whether he knew Cooper was in the car.

”That probable cause hearing was nothing but a character assassination,” Baygents said. “It was slinging mud at Ross. It was to vilify him in the media and the public and turn the tide of public opinion away from him. The stuff that’s been insinuated just isn’t true. The facts are the facts. Let them stand for what they are.”

The security tapes
Of all the items presented against Harris that day, Stoddard’s description of the Home Depot security video bore most directly on Harris’ actions involving the car and Cooper. Whether the tape, which was not shown in court, supports the inferences drawn by the prosecution is arguable.

Stoddard, prompted by prosecutor Chuck Boring, said or strongly insinuated that Harris:

• Sat in his Hyundai Tucson for 30 seconds after parking it that morning, with his son just inches away, before heading into work;

• Returned to the parked SUV after lunch on the pretext of putting a package inside and had a “clear view” of the interior;

• Paused during his walk back to the office, apparently worried that a man who passed him in the parking lot would see his son inside the vehicle.

Later, in his closing arguments, Boring highlighted how long it supposedly took Harris to get out of the car that morning. “That morning, he waits 30 seconds in that car … 30 seconds with that child right beside him,” he said.

But the video shows that Harris was in the car for less than 15 seconds, during which he put the vehicle in park, turned off the engine and then gathered his smartphone, computer bag and drink before sliding out of the driver’s seat.

Regarding the lunchtime incident, Stoddard testified that when Harris opened the driver’s door and tossed in some light bulbs he had bought, “he’s all the way inside the frame … and as he’s reaching in, he kind of turns his head a little bit. He’s in there. He has a clear view.”

But the video shows that Harris’ eyes remain above the SUV’s roof line. Only his arm and shoulder reach inside the vehicle. On the video it shows it took three seconds for him to open the door, place the light bulbs inside and close the door.

Stoddard also insinuated that Harris became worried when another man walked past him in the parking lot and was headed toward the car.

”As that person approaches him, he stops,” Stoddard said of Harris. “He kind of stands there for a little bit as the guy walks past him. You can see that man walk up towards the car. He starts a little bit. Justin starts a little bit. He stops. The guy walks past the car, and then Justin gets on the phone and goes inside the Home Depot.”

Boring repeated that scenario in his summation to the judge, saying that Harris “stops when a person starts walking toward his car and waits until that person passes, and then re-enters” his office building.

The video does show Harris pass a man walking toward the car. In fact, the man walks through the open space next to Harris’ parked SUV, passing within three or four feet of the vehicle and walking the full length of it. If he had turned his head and glanced inside, he almost certainly would have seen Cooper.

The video shows that Harris does stop briefly, but his eyes are on his cellphone, which he pokes at with his free hand. He never looks back at the man who walks past his car.

Harris also walks past another man who is headed in the direction of the car. Once again, Harris does not look back at this man. In both instances, he appears oblivious to the passersby.

Troubling discrepancies
Atlanta criminal defense attorney Jack Martin said there are plenty of “suspicious circumstances” in the case that Harris will have to explain if he is to create a reasonable doubt as to his guilt.

But Martin, who is not part of the case and has not seen the security videos, said he found the apparent discrepancies in Stoddard’s testimony troubling.

”If Harris was sitting there for 30 seconds before getting out of the car, it makes you think he’s steeling his nerves about what he’s going to do, that he’s plotting what he’s going to do,” Martin said. “Either that, or it seems like that would be enough time to recall his kid’s in the back seat.”

Similarly, Martin said, the testimony about Harris stopping in the lot after lunch when the man passes by “gives the inference that he was worried that guy would notice something and that he was checking him out.”

If the video does not show that, Martin said, “what you have here is an exaggeration of some circumstances that can be totally consistent with innocence.”

Martin successfully represented Richard Jewell, the former security guard who was an initial suspect in the Centennial Park bombing during the 1996 Olympics. Jewell, who died seven years ago, was cleared of wrongdoing, and Eric Robert Rudolph pleaded guilty to the bombing in 2005.

A search for motives
Both in search warrant applications and at the hearing, police and prosecutors repeatedly said Harris “researched” or “searched for” information about child-free living and children or animals dying in hot cars. For many people, that left the impression that he was on a sustained quest to acquire that information.

But in his cross-examination, Kilgore argued that the information, in effect, presented itself to Harris. His only role, Kilgore said, was to click on a couple of items that appeared on websites millions of people visit every day for news and entertainment.

• Kilgore said that on a website Harris often used, the social sharing site Reddit, he clicked on a video made by a veterinarian who demonstrates how hot it gets in a closed car;

• He visited a Reddit topic page on which people discuss their choice not to have children, Stoddard said;

• Stoddard said Harris told police he watched a TV report on a parent who accidentally left a child in a car and now urges parents to turn around to check that they are not doing the same.

Baygents, who is Harris’s half-brother, scoffed at the conclusion prosecutors drew from those actions and Harris’ sexting activities — that Harris “wanted to live a child-free life.” Baygents pointed to different actions that, he said, show Harris was a devoted father who had plans for Cooper far into the future.

He said he and Harris were happily making arrangements to take their families on a cruise in October. The idea had percolated since Christmas, when Baygents said he wanted to take his wife and four children on a cruise.

Harris suggested the two families vacation together, Baygents said. “He hounded and hounded me about it. I finally gave him a green light about a month and a half ago.”

Harris started communicating with a travel agent about the cruise weeks before Cooper died, Baygents said. They settled on Carnival Cruise Lines after going online and finding a Carnival ship that had water slides for children.

”This wasn’t a husband-and-wife thing,” Baygents said. “It was family — kids and all.”

Harris wanted Baygents’ wife’s sister to come too, because Cooper had enjoyed playing with her son during a beach vacation over Memorial Day weekend.

Baygents also said the Harrises were saving up for a four-bedroom house because they wanted to have a second child before Cooper turned 3. And they were targeting their search to areas with good schools, he said.

”What parent does that unless they are planning for their kids?” Baygents asked.

Weeks earlier, in an interview with the AJC, Harris’ landlord said the couple was preparing to go house-hunting in search of good schools and a big back yard for Cooper to run around in.

Follow the money
During the probable cause hearing, Detective Stoddard testified that Ross and Leanna Harris were having financial difficulties and that Ross told police he had just charged up to $4,000 on a credit card to get airline miles.

Stoddard also testified the family had two insurance policies on Cooper totalling $27,000 — a $2,000 policy provided by Home Depot and another $25,000 policy they took out as part of Harris’ benefits package in November 2012, shortly after Cooper’s birth.

Taken together, Stoddard’s testimony could leave the impression that Harris had a financial incentive to see Cooper dead. In an earlier search warrant application, police said that Harris had instructed family members from jail on how to file for the money.

Baygents said Harris told him about the insurance policies while the two of them were discussing burial arrangements for Cooper. He said Harris told him to use the money for the boy’s funeral.

Baygents also said Harris gave him control of the Harrises’ accounts when he came to Marietta after Cooper’s death, so he is fully acquainted with the couple’s finances. The family had $6,000 in savings, paid their bills on time and had excellent credit, Baygents said.

”To say they were in financial trouble is just crazy,” he said.

Under questioning by Kilgore, Stoddard acknowledged the police had uncovered no evidence that Harris was in financial trouble. That allegation was based, he said, on Leanna Harris’ answer to a police question: She suggested that, like most people, the couple sometimes felt financially stressed.

”To think that he killed Cooper for $27,000 is a joke,” Baygents said.

Damning details
The defense team still faces many pieces of circumstantial evidence that tend to weigh against Harris, some of which they have yet to answer. There is his reported comment to his wife at the police station that he “dreaded” how Cooper would look. There is what Stoddard insisted was an actual Internet search for information on living in prison. There is testimony that the car stank “like death,” something Harris either failed to notice or ignored as he drove for several minutes with the windows up on the afternoon of June 18 with the boy’s body in the back seat.

On other points, Kilgore, during the hearing, and Baygents, in interviews with the AJC, offered interpretations quite different from the inferences drawn by police.

On the stand, Stoddard made much of how little time elapsed between Harris’ strapping Cooper into his car seat after they got breakfast at Chick-fil-A and his reaching the intersection where he should have turned to take the boy to day care. That drive takes no more than 30 or 40 seconds, the detective testified.

But in his cross-examination, Kilgore suggested that Harris’ usual routine was to drop the boy off at day care, drive to the restaurant and then head straight to work. So bringing Cooper to Chick-fil-A was a departure from an established pattern, Kilgore implied.

Experts say a break in routine is a common reason parents forget that a child is in the car.

Baygents said that reinforces his certainty that his brother made a terrible mistake, not a calculated choice. “I know Ross. Cooper was his buddy. To see him portrayed as a terrible parent is just not right,” he said.

Baygents also addressed Stoddard’s testimony about what happened when Leanna and Ross were put together in the same room after his arrest. Police, listening in on the conversation, heard Leanna ask her husband, “Did you say too much?”

But this was not a marital conspiracy, Baygents said. “It was more along the line of, ‘What’s going on here? Are we in trouble or something?’ They were in a total state of shock. Their child was dead.”

Police have also said Leanna showed little emotion after learning Cooper was dead. They have recounted a phone call to her mother, in which the mother is heard to ask why Leanna is not more emotional.

Baygents said that there are times when Leanna talks calmly and coherently about what happened. “But there have also been times when she’s on the floor in a fetal position calling out to God.”

(I'll be back with headline and then back again with link...)

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2014/jul/22/authorities-may-have-overstated-case-georgia-toddl/?local


Last edited by ladibug on Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:30 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : 'Cuz I'm still using the iPad.)
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by twinkletoes on Tue Jul 22, 2014 8:30 am



I still think it was a planned murder with the mother in collusion.  Nothing else makes sense.
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by Avocado on Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:27 am

They were going to buy a 4 bedroom house in a good school district and pay for a family cruise with $6,000 in savings minus the $4000 in credit card debt? Sounds legit.
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by ladibug on Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:17 am

Updated: 5:19 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 | Posted: 3:59 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, 2014
Attorney: Leanna Harris isn't a suspect in son Cooper's death
COBB COUNTY, Ga. — 
The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office has requested a “victim’s impact statement” from the mother of a toddler whose father is now charged with leaving him to die in a hot car, signaling, her attorney believes, that prosecutors don’t intend to charge her with a crime.
 
Police have charged Ross Harris in the death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper, after they said he intentionally left the boy in his SUV for seven hours June 18. 
 
Leanna Harris’s attorney, Lawrence Zimmerman, told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik Ms. Harris received a package, which included a book about grieving the loss of a loved one, a few weeks ago.
 
“In my experience, the district attorney only sends packages like these when they think someone is the victim of a crime,” Zimmerman told Petchenik. “That’s what I believe based on what they’ve sent her. “
 
“This is the most high-profile case in the social media era that Cobb County’s ever had, and the biggest case by far that Vic Reynolds has had since becoming the district attorney,” said Zimmerman.  “This just didn’t get out by mistake.  That doesn’t happen.”
 
On the form, which Zimmerman provided to Petchenik, Harris talks about the impact the loss of her son has had on her.
 
“The death of my son is still unreal.  Not a moment goes by when I don’t think about him or what our future would have held,” Leanna Harris wrote.  “I now live a tortured existence.”
 
Harris wrote that she has received treatment for depression and grief.
 
“Some days I completely break down because I miss my baby and my family so much,” she wrote.  “The rush to judgment by the public and the mainstream media has left me with little confidence in our legal system and our society.”
 
Harris also defended her husband.
 
“Ross was a wonderful father, and he loved Cooper with all his heart,” she wrote.  “I know without a doubt he would never have knowingly allowed any harm to come to our son.”
 
A spokeswoman for the Cobb County District Attorney’s office emailed Petchenik to say they are required by law to send that package to Harris.
 
“I can’t confirm or deny that,” Kimberly Isaza wrote when asked ifHarris was still considered a suspect.  “It is still an active investigation.”
Legal observers not connected to the case told Petchenik it would be highly unlikely for the District Attorney’s office to send Harris the victim’s impact statement if they intended to charge her.
“You would not send it to someone who you thought was a suspect,” said Marietta attorney Ashleigh Merchant.  “You would only send it to someone who you thought was a victim of the crime.”
Defense attorney Esther Panitch, also not associated with the case, said that prosecutors often use the victim impact statement to gauge whether someone would be willing to testify against a defendant.
“They can find out what her statements are, what her frame of mind is, to know that they don’t want to call her as a witness because she may not be helpful to the District attorney’s office,” Panitch said.
http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/mother-child-left-die-hot-car-says-she-misses-her-/ngyBT/
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by twinkletoes on Sat Aug 09, 2014 8:34 am

Weird.  The mother doesn't consider herself a victim.  She wouldn't bring her baby back if she could.

When she visited her husband in jail she asked him is he had "said too much".  WTF.
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by So_Cal on Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:18 pm


'Hot Car Dad' Indicted for Son's Murder

ABCNews
RHEANA MURRAY
Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Georgia dad who left his son to die in a scorching SUV this summer was indicted today and charged with the boy's murder.

Justin Harris, 33, will be tried for malice murder among other charges, the court said. He could face the death penalty, a judge said earlier this year.

Mom of Child Who Died in Hot SUV Is Living a 'Nightmare': Lawyer

Dad Charged With Son's Hot Car Death Could Face Death Penalty

Harris faces eight counts: malice murder, two counts of felony murder, cruelty to children in the 1st and 2nd degree, criminal attempt to commit a felony and two counts of dissemination of harmful material to minors.

Harris' 22-month-old son, Cooper, died on June 18 inside a hot car parked outside Home Depot, where Harris worked. The indictment said Harris left his son in the vehicle "with malice aforethought" and caused the boy "cruel and excessive physical pain."

Harris, who pleaded not guilty, has claimed the death was an accident, and that he forgot to drop his son off at daycare, on a day when the temperature reached 90 degrees in Atlanta.

The prosecution argued that because Harris returned to his car once during the day, to drop something off after lunch, he must have known the boy was inside. They suggested Harris was eager to live a childless life.

Police also discovered Harris had been sexting multiple women while his son was in the car. One of the females was under 18, prompting the charge of disseminating harmful material to minors.

Maddox Kilgore, an attorney for Harris, claimed his client is innocent and said prosecution only brought up the sexting claims to "publicly shame" Harris.

Harris' wife Leanna Harris has remained by her husband's side but hired a separate attorney. She has not been charged with a crime but police have questioned her behavior surrounding her son's death.

Her lawyer Lawrence Zimmerman said she is "living every parent's nightmare" and mourning "in her own private way."

Harris' friends and family have described him as a loving dad who would never hurt his son.

"He was a loving father, he loved his son very much," his brother Randy Michael Baygents Jr., a police sergeant in Alabama, said in court in July. "We went on family vacations together. He was a good dad."
http://abc7.com/news/hot-car-dad-indicted-for-sons--murder-/294439/
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Re: COOPER HARRIS - 2 yo (6/14) - / Charged: Father, Justin Ross Harris - Marietta, GA

Post by mom_in_il on Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:56 pm

No Death Penalty for Georgia Dad Accused of Leaving Boy to Die in Hot Car

POSTED 5:33 PM, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014
UPDATED AT 05:36PM, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014
BY CNN WIRE

Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against Justin Ross Harris, who is accused of killing his toddler son by leaving him in a hot car for hours, Cobb County, Georgia, District Attorney Vic Reynolds said Wednesday.

“After reviewing Georgia’s death penalty statute and considering other factors, the state will not seek the death penalty in this case at this time. I cannot and will not elaborate at this juncture of the case,” Reynolds said in a written statement.

Harris, who was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, also had his arraignment postponed until October 17 because of a scheduling conflict with the defense, the statement said.

Earlier this month, the Georgia father was indicted by a grand jury on eight counts, including malice murder and two counts of felony murder, in the June death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.

“We’re pleased with the pace and thoroughness of this investigation, which continues on today,” Reynolds said at the time. “The evidence in this case has led us to this point today. Whether it leads us to anyone else remains to be answered.”

He declined to take questions or comment further, saying, “This case will be tried in a court of law,” and not in the media.

The lawyer for Harris’ wife, Lawrence Zimmerman, said Leanna Harris is “thrilled” by the prosecutor’s decision.

“He ensured us that he would only make a decision based on the evidence, not based on public opinion,” Zimmerman said in a statement to reporters Wednesday. “While we are relieved with his decision, it was a calculated one.”

The decision suggests that “Reynolds does not agree with the police department’s first public statements that this was a case that would shock everyone’s conscious,” Zimmerman said.

“As far as my client is concerned, she has known from the beginning and she is thrilled with the district attorney’s decision not to seek the death penalty because it affirms what we’ve been saying all along,” he said. “This was just a tragic accident. When the truth comes out, justice will prevail for Ross.”

The other five charges Harris faces are: first-degree cruelty to children, second-degree cruelty to children, criminal attempt to commit a felony (sexual exploitation of a minor) and two counts of dissemination of harmful material to minors.

The criminal attempt to commit a felony and dissemination of harmful materials charges are not related directly to Cooper’s death. They involve allegations that Harris requested a nude photo of a minor’s genitalia and sent the same minor descriptions of “sexual excitement and sexual conduct,” according to the indictment.

A Cobb County detective testified at an earlier probable cause hearing that while Cooper was in the car at his father’s workplace, Harris was sexting with numerous women and sent one of them, who was underage, a photo of his erect penis.

Harris’ attorney, H. Maddox Kilgore, called the charges excessive, describing them as a part of the “state’s maze of theories.”

“It was always an accident. When the time comes, and we’ve worked through the state’s maze of theories at trial, it’s still going to be a terrible, gut-wrenching accident. And all the eccentricities and moral failings of Ross’ life isn’t going to change that,” he told reporters.

According to the indictment, the grand jury found that Harris “did unlawfully, and with malice aforethought, cause the death of Cooper Harris … by placing said Cooper Harris into a child car seat and leaving him alone in a hot motor vehicle.”

Authorities have painted Harris as a terrible father who, after admittedly looking up online how hot a car needed to be to kill a child, purposely strapped his son into his sweltering SUV to die.

His motivation? The prosecutor has characterized Harris as an unfaithful husband who wanted a childless life.

Kilgore has argued his client tragically forgot his child in the car. Friends describe Harris as a doting dad, not a malicious one, who loved to show off his blond, bright-eyed boy and talked about him incessantly.

Harris left Cooper in a rear-facing car seat in the back of his 2011 Hyundai Tucson on June 18 while he spent the day at work as a Web developer for Atlanta-based Home Depot. He normally dropped the boy off at day care.

The temperature topped 92 that day — which can make the heat inside a closed vehicle soar past 100 degrees quickly — and police testified during Harris’ probable cause hearing that Cooper spent at least seven hours in the car.

http://ktla.com/2014/09/24/no-death-penalty-for-georgia-dad-accused-of-leaving-boy-to-die-in-hot-car/
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