Justin Ross Harris, 35, was convicted by a Georgia jury for the murder of his 22-month-old son, Cooper Harris. The father left his son inside a hot SUV for seven hours. The boy was in the SUV, parked outside the Home Depot. where Harris was employed.
Harris, convicted of malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children and dissemination of harmful materials to a minor faces life in prison. Defense lawyers said from the start of the trial that the father was responsible for his son’s death. However, their argument was that his actions were not criminal. They fought that he forgot that his son was in the SUV. They said the forgetfulness was a result of Cooper changing his morning routine. Instead of taking his son to day care first he stopped to eat breakfast with him.
Prosecutors painted a very different picture. They said that Harris intentionally planned to kill his son. They say he wanted to escape his family responsibilities so he could pursue sex with prostitutes and other women he met online. One of Harris’ lawyers admitted that Harris did engage in, “immoral sexual behavior, graphic, filthy sexual talk,” but that Harris was attempting to turn his life around.
Harris will receive his sentencing next month. Although Harris is from the Atlanta area, Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Stanley Clark moved the trial 275 miles south to the Georgia city of Brunswick. She said this was due to pretrial publicity.