Take two for jury selection for the hot car death trial in the State of Georgia v. Ross Harris has begun, according to the Marietta Daily Journal on August 6. The outlet reports that approximately 250 juror summons for Ross Harris’ trial were sent to Glynn County residents within the past week. Jury selection is set to formally begin September 12 of this year.
This, after a Cobb County, Georgia, pool of approximately 350 jurors were impaneled for the hot car death trial of Ross Harris this spring, with no success. Justin Ross Harris, commonly known as Ross Harris, is facing a multiple-count indictment for the hot car death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper Harris. The death occurred in June 2014, and Ross Harris has been in Cobb County jail since the incident occurred.
He’s facing some very grisly charges, and the State of Georgia is calling the death of Cooper Harris felony murder. In addition to felony murder, Ross Harris is facing multiple counts of cruelty to children in the second degree, criminal attempt, and the furnishing of sexually explicit material to minors.
The Inquisitr previously reported that just prior to take one of the jury selection for this long-awaited trial, Ross Harris was slammed with six additional indictments of distributing and possessing photographs of minors performing sexual acts, in addition to two sexual exploitation counts.
Any time a child is lost in a senseless act, be that negligence or murder, the public is left with a very bad taste in their mouth. This particular case appears to have a lot of foul-tasting food for thought. The state has built a Pandora’s box of evidence filled with one grisly detail after another.
It was June 18, 2014, when Ross Harris took his 22-month-old son, Cooper, for breakfast at the Chick-fil-A in Cobb County, Georgia. Video surveillance shows Ross kissing his son when he strapped him into his car seat. Ross was then supposed to take Cooper to day care for the day, but he didn’t.
He went right to work three minutes down the road, parked his car, and went in for the day. Video surveillance used in the preliminary hearing against Ross Harris shows that Ross returned to his car at lunch to throw something in his car. He then went back to work.
Ross was invited to the movies that night with some work buddies. He declined and left work at approximately 4:15 p.m. He drove away from his office with his windows up on that hot Georgia day. It was moments later after driving through many stop lights that he pulled over and pulled his now dead son out of the car. Video surveillance from traffic lights during that drive is expected to surface during the Ross Harris trial.
At the preliminary hearing in 2014, it came out that Ross Harris would be facing felony murder for this death. It was also here where the public learned the first of many pieces of grisly information. First, the child had been deceased for hours before recovery and may have tried to scratch his way out of the seat he was strapped in, which was suggested by the wounds on his body found post-mortem.
In later hearings, Detective Stoddard, a first responder to the scene, would indicate that securing the deceased body of that child on that day has left impressions on him he will likely carry for life.
All of the police who responded to the scene that day testified with a very obvious edge to their voice. None of them will forget Cooper Harris from that day, and their anger is palpable. Those weren’t even the most gruesome discoveries that day.
While Cooper Harris was dying in his car, Ross Harris was reportedly sexting multiple women. The evidence list supports this, as well as the notion that this was a regular habit of Ross Harris, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing. We are also learning that the state plans to show evidence that Ross did some grisly internet research as well that includes research on how long it takes for an animal death to occur in a hot car.
The State of Georgia plans to use all of this evidence to show the new Glynn County jury that Ross Harris showed motive, intent, and preparation in the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris. But will they even be able to get a new jury?
It was April of this year when Cobb County, Georgia, impaneled over 300 potential jurors for the Ross Harris hot car death trial. It was three painstaking weeks of jury selection, after which there were less than the 30 jurors needed to proceed with the trial. A defense motion was put before Judge Mary Staley in the Cobb County Superior Court to move the trial, citing a difficulty in finding an impartial jury due to extensive press coverage on this case.
During the course of the first jury selection, prosecutors and defense alike were meeting multiple challenges in finding unbiased jurors. Additionally, jurors were stating that a lengthy and protracted felony murder trial was not feasible for their current and outstanding life matters. One juror suffered from cancer, and another was expecting a baby.
Rampant speculation, however, suggested that most Cobb County jurors paneled for the Ross Harris hot car death trial were convinced about his guilt of felony murder beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense for Ross Harris argued that this was due to extensive and inflammatory press coverage. In May 2016, Judge Mary Staley granted the defense motion for a change of venue, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The ruling of Judge Staley in granting the change of venue echoed the sentiment of the rampant speculation that the first jury pool was disgusted by the alleged acts of Justin Ross Harris.
In her ruling, Judge Staley said, “This court does not disparage what the coverage has been…the juror questionnaires show pervasive knowledge of this case. Almost, you read them, they consistently have some knowledge of the case. Some of them don’t. That’s the exception, not the rule. And they have a lot of information. And then the emotional nature of the response, one juror said rot in hell, another juror said, pervert. That’s not vulgar, if it fits the situation. To say that the juror questionnaire show a pervasive knowledge negative to the defendant is an understatement.”
With that, Judge Staley granted the motion for the change of venue. Two days before the two-year anniversary of the death of Cooper Harris, the Ross Harris hot car death trial was officially moved to Glynn County, Georgia. This week, take two of the jury selection began, with 250 juror summons being sent out in the hopes of finding an impartial jury for the Ross Harris felony murder trial.
The Marietta Daily Journal reports that jury selection will formally begin on September 12 and is expected to last approximately two weeks. The Marietta Daily Journal also reports that the state will be asking the courts to permit the jurors to visit the locations traveled by Ross Harris and his son, Cooper Harris, on the day that Cooper died. That motion will be heard August 19 of this year.
Do you think an impartial jury will be found for Ross Harris in Glynn County?
[Photo by Kelly J. Huff/The Marietta Daily Journal/Pool/AP Images]