Justin Ross Harris, the Atlanta-area man who allegedly left his toddler child to die in a hot car earlier this summer, will not face the death penalty for the murder of Cooper Harris.
Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds issued a statement saying that he had reviewed Georgia’s death penalty statute and the other facts in the case, according to WGCL, and determined that Justin Ross Harris is not eligible for the death penalty. Harris was officially charged with murder for Cooper’s death nearly three weeks ago, according to this Inquisitr report.
“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.”
According to Find Law, in order to qualify for the death penalty in Georgia, the accused must either have a previous felony conviction, or must have carried out his/her murder (or one of a handful of other crimes) while committing another capital felony (among other conditions that are not relevant here).
Two-year-old Cooper Harris died June 18, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, in the parking lot of the Home Depot office building where his father, Justin Ross Harris, worked. Cooper was left in the car for seven hours while inside his father “sexted,” which is to say, sent sexually explicit texts and photographs. Justin and his wife, Leanna Harris, have both maintained that Cooper’s death was an accident, though the evidence (such as Justin allegedly looking up “how long does it take a child to die in a hot car” on his computer) is enough that a grand jury has charged him with murder.
According to the Daily Mail, an autopsy performed on Cooper Harris determined that the 18-month-old died horribly in the family’s SUV as the heat inside quickly rose to over 100 degrees. Wounds on Cooper’s hands, face, and head indicate that he struggled vainly to free himself from his too-tight car seat, and scratched his face and head in his panic.
In addition to murder, Justin Ross Harris is also facing other charges related to Cooper’s death, including cruelty to children, as well as a handful of charges related to allegedly “sexting” nude pictures to at least one underage girl.
Do you believe that Justin Ross Harris deserves the death penalty for Cooper’s murder? Let us know what you think below.
[Image courtesy of: NBC News]