Justin Ross Harris, the father of Cooper Harris, an Atlanta-area toddler who baked to death in a hot car earlier this summer while his he ‘sexted,’ has officially been charged with murder, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting.
A grand jury in Cobb County issued the indictment against Harris earlier today, charging him with “malice murder.” He will be eligible for the death penalty. In addition, he’s charged with two counts of felony murder, one count each of child cruelty in the first and second degree, and several counts each of attempting to sexually exploit children, and two counts of dissemination of harmful material to minors. The latter charges stem from the fact that at least one of the women Harris was accused of ‘sexting’ wasn’t actually a woman, but an underage girl. (‘Sexting,” according to Urban Dictionary, is the practice of sending sexually explicit text messages, including nude pictures.)
On June 18 of this year, prosecutors allege that Justin Harris went to work at his office, and left Cooper in the car to die horribly in the heat. Police said he died of hyperthermia – essentially, being baked to death. Police found signs that he struggled to get out of his car seat, and that in his terror, he had scratched himself.
Mr. Harris had tried to play off the incident as a tragic accident, but his story didn’t add up, according to Associated Press. Police investigating Harris’ home found evidence on his computer that Justin had searched for such terms as “how long does it take a child to die in a hot car,” “childfree lifestyle,” and “how to survive in prison.” Prosecutors allege that Harris and his wife, Leanna, didn’t want to be parents any more and that Justin killed Cooper so they wouldn’t have to deal with him.
According to this report from The Inquisitr, Mrs. Harris has also faced scrutiny in Cooper’s death. For example, when confronted with news of Cooper’s death, Mrs. Harris allegedly acted as if she had seen it coming.
“Ross must have left him in the car. There’s no other explanation.”
As of this post, Leanna Harris has not been charged with any crimes.
Due to the extreme amount of publicity this case has gotten, according to Atlanta defense attorney Page Pate (who is not associated with this case), thinks that it may be difficult to seat an impartial jury.
“The problem here is this is not just a Cobb County issue or case. It’s not just a Georgia case. It’s an international case.”
Do you believe that Justin Ross Harris murdered his son, or that it was a tragic accident? Let us know below.
Image courtesy of: New York Daily News