Man guilty in death of tod­dler son left in hot SUV

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Russ Bynum

>> A Ge­or­gia man whose tod­dler son died in a hot car was found guilty of both mal­ice and felony mur­der on Mon­day by a jury tasked with weigh­ing a month of du­el­ing tes­ti­mony over whether the child’s fa­ther left him to per­ish on pur­pose or made a fa­tal mis­take.

Justin Ross Har­ris, 35, who showed lit­tle emo­tion as the ver­dict was read, had been on trial since Oct. 3 in the death of his son, Cooper.

The 22-month-old boy died after be­ing left for hours in the back of Har­ris’ SUV on June 18, 2014. Har­ris said he for­got to drop his son off at day care that morn­ing and drove straight to his job as a web de­vel­oper for Home De­pot, not re­al­iz­ing Cooper was still in his car seat.

Soon af­ter­ward, in­ves­ti­ga­tors found ev­i­dence that Har­ris was hav­ing sex­ual re­la­tion­ships — both on­line ban­ter and in-per­son af­fairs — with nu­mer­ous women, in­clud­ing a pros­ti­tute and a teenager. Pros­e­cu­tors charged Har­ris with mal­ice mur­der, say­ing he in­ten­tion­ally killed his son in or­der to es­cape the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of fam­ily life.

Har­ris was also charged with felony mur­der, which re­quired no proof of in­tent to kill — just that Cooper died as a re­sult of his fa­ther com­mit­ting the felony of cru­elty to chil­dren. Mal­ice mur­der car­ries a prison term of life with or with­out pa­role.

Pros­e­cu­tors ar­gued Har­ris must have known Cooper was in the car. He drove less than two min­utes to work after strap­ping the child into his car seat when they fin­ished break­fast at a Chick-fil-A restau­rant just over a half-mile from Har­ris’ of­fice. Park­ing lot sur­veil­lance video showed Har­ris also went to his car after lunch and tossed in some light bulbs he had pur­chased, though he never got in­side.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.