The trial of a father accused of leaving his infant son in a hot car is underway in Georgia. Justin Ross Harris is on trial for murder after his son Cooper Harris was found unresponsive in his SUV. Harris was supposed to take his son to daycare but reportedly forgot he was in the car when he went to work at the Home Depot corporate office June 2014. The nursery for his son is located at the Home Depot Corporate campus in Atlanta and was within minutes of Harris’ workplace. Sadly, 22-month-old Cooper Harris died of hyperthermia as temperatures in the car exceeded 100 degrees. The little boy died within hours.
Law enforcement officials seized computer and cellphone records, which showed Harris was visiting various online dating sites and sending pornographic pictures of himself to a 17-year-old unidentified girl. In addition, prosecutors claim that at the time he left his car with his son inside he was “sexting” with at least six different women. Perhaps the most disturbing revelation was that Harris had searched online for “hot car” deaths of animals and also for living a child-free life.
Testimony in the trial so far has pictured the elder Harris as stoic and emotionless upon discovering that his son was dead. Arresting officer Cobb County Police Detective Jacquelyn Piper was called as the first prosecution witness and stated of Harris, “I didn’t see any crying. His face wasn’t wet.” In addition, the detective stated that Harris complained that he was hot in the back of the patrol car and that his hands were hurting because of the handcuffs. He was also described as being combative with the officers and wanting to make cellphone calls. An additional witness who was there when Harris first came to the SUV broke down in tears as he described the infant victim. James Hawkins, a lighting installer, testified he rushed over to help and tried to administer CPR to the boy. Hawkins stated, “It was [like] blowing into a busted bag. He was gone. He was dead.”
Harris faces life in prison if he’s convicted of murder, as prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty.