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Dad Who Left Baby In Hot Car While Texting Women & Underage Girl Will Appeal Murder Conviction

Photo: Facebook / Brunswick Police Department
Cooper Harris, Justin Ross Harris

A father who was convicted of murdering his toddler son by leaving him in hot car in 2014 is looking to have his conviction reconsidered.

On June 18, 2014, Justin Ross Harris left his son, Cooper, in his car for approximately 7 hours in 98 degree heat while he was at work.

Harris claimed the incident was a tragic accident, saying he forgot to drop his son to daycare and didn’t notice until he drove away from work later that day.

However, Georgia prosecutors argued that Cooper’s death was planned and orchestrated by Harris to escape a failing marriage.

Justin Ross Harris is appealing his conviction for the murder of baby Cooper.

Defense lawyers reportedly plan to argue that “errors related to its evidentiary decisions” were made during Harris’ 2016 trial. 

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Harris is arguing that his convictions of child cruelty and murder lacked sufficient evidence and takes issue with only three defense witnesses being called.

Cooper Harris died inside his father’s car hours before he was found.

Harris, a web designer, entered work at the Vinings Home Depot headquarters shortly after 9 am.

Expert witnesses testified that the boy likely died by noon due to the extreme heat in the car. 

At or around 12:30 pm, Harris had returned to the car during his lunch break to drop a bag of light bulbs on the front passenger seat but claims he didn’t notice his son.

Upon finishing work at around 4:15 pm, Harris drove for several minutes until he over into the Akers Mill Square shopping center on Cobb Parkway and began screaming as he took his son out of the SUV.

“Justin was witnessed yelling, ‘Oh my god what have I done,’” an arrest warrant read. “He then began doing CPR on the child. EMS responded to the scene. It was obvious that the child was deceased.”

However, prosecutors argued that there would have been a smell in the car by the time the father returned and raised questions about the seven minutes of driving Harris did before noticing the boy. 

Prosecutors alleged that Justin Harris Ross was having affairs prior to Cooper’s death.

This, they argued, was evidence that Ross was trying to escape his marriage and his responsibilities to his family.

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During the trial, jurors heard testimony from eight women who had contact with Harris, who was married at the time. 

Some had sex with him while others testified that they exchanged sexually explicit texts and naked photos with him.

A 17-year-old girl was among the people who testified. She told a court that she was 15 when and Harris exchanged private images and sexually explicit texts. 

Upon learning that she was underage, Harris expressed that he wanted the girl to perform sexual acts on him.

“He told me he wanted me to make him a naughty old man, or something along those lines,” the teenager said.

Harris believes he did not get a fair trial.

He said “prejudicial testimony” made it an “absolute impossibility” to receive a fair trial and claimed the affairs should not have been relevant to the trial.

He argues that details about his sexual addiction tainted the jury’s view of Harris and had nothing to do with Cooper’s death.

In May 2021, a Cobb County judge denied a request for Harris to get a new trial. The state Supreme Court is now scheduled to hear arguments on January 18.

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Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.