Justin Ross Harris is a Georgia dad who has been charged with murder for leaving his 22 month old son in a hot car where he died.
According to NBC News, Cobb County officials say jail policy dictates that Harris must be kept locked up without bond while the rest of his family gathers in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on Saturday for the child’s funeral.
CNN reports that Justin’s wife, Leanna Harris, spoke today at Cooper’s funeral regarding the allegations against her husband. This was the first time she’d spoken publicly since the toddler’s death:
“Am I angry with Ross? Absolutely not. It has never crossed my mind. Ross is and was and will be, if we have more children, a wonderful father. Ross is a wonderful daddy and leader for our household. Cooper meant the world to him.”
Earlier in the funeral service at University Church of Christ, Justin called from the Cobb County Jail outside Atlanta, and addressed the crowd by speaker phone. He said he was sorry he couldn’t be there and thanked those who were gathered for all they’d done for his son.
Leanna Harris followed her son’s casket out of the church, still on the phone with her husband. Before hanging up, she said, “I love you.”
Initially, Justin Ross Harris stated that he forgot his son was in the car when he went into work on June 18th.
According to police, Harris came out to the car at lunch time and opened up the driver’s side door to put something inside, then went back into work. He left the office at 4:16 p.m., stopping a few miles later in a shopping center parking lot, where he called for help, screaming, “What have I done?”
In the days following the toddler’s death, Georgia law enforcement officers reported that Harris did an internet search for “how long does it take for an animal to die in a hot car” shortly before leaving Cooper in the car on that hot day, when temperatures upside reached near 90 degrees..
After police announced that the evidence will show the boy’s death was not “simple negligence,” the anonymous sponsor of a Change.org petition that collected 11,000 signatures in support of Harris shut it down. “I think that based on the recent developments this petition is no longer relevant. I still pray that this was truly an accident,” a note on the petition reads. An online fundraiser collected more than $22,000 for the family but donations dwindled as police insisted the felony murder charge is warranted.
Justin Ross Harris remains in jail without bond. He has pleaded not-guilty on charges of murder and second degree child cruelty.
photo via rawstory.com