Georgia Father Guilty In Son’s Death in Hot SUV

By AIMEE SACHS

(CN) – Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia father accused of leaving his toddler in a hot car to die in 2014, was found guilty on all eight charges he faced on Monday.

Harris sat expressionless as the verdict was read.

The jury found Harris guilty of malice murder, two counts of felony murder and first and second-degree cruelty to children.

He was also found guilty of criminal attempt to commit sexual exploitation of children and two counts of dissemination of harmful materials to minors.

Harris left his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in his SUV on June 18, 2014, in Cobb County, Georgia. Due to constant media coverage in the metro Atlanta area, the trial was moved across the state to Glynn County.

“The evidence speaks for Cooper,” lead prosecutor Chuck Boring said during the trial. “It can’t bring him back, but it can do him justice.”

Prosecutors painted a picture of a man leading a double life, killing his son so he could live a child-free life. Much of their case focused on Harris’s social media exchanges with various women, including underage girls. Among the witnesses was a prostitute Harris had sex with on numerous occasions.

The defense team tried to convince jurors that Harris accidentally forgot about his son when he left Cooper in the car before going to work for seven hours.

Surveillance video presented by prosecutors showed Harris standing by the vehicle after his lunch break and throwing light bulbs into the car.

The defense countered with several videos of Harris playing with Cooper, attempting to show Harris as a loving father.

Jurors also circled the SUV as a life-sized doll was strapped in a car seat in the back of the car.

After the jurors saw the vehicle, the defense motioned for a mistrial, which Judge Mary Staley Clark denied.

“Today is not a victory, nor is it a day we celebrate,” Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said in a statement. “In fact, today is a monumentally sad day. This has been a 29-month journey culminating in this guilty verdict. I want to thank the community of Glynn County for their hospitality and the Cobb Police Department for their hard work. And I certainly want to thank all the members of DA’s Office who worked on this case. It was a true team effort, and I believe justice was served today on behalf of young Cooper Harris.”

Harris’s sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 5. He faces life in prison without parole, plus 42 years.

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