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Dad Facing Murder Trial Charged With Sex Abuse

MARIETTA, Ga. (CN) - A month before his murder trial is scheduled to start, Justin Ross Harris was hit with eight additional charges Friday and will also be tried for the sexual exploitation of underage girls.

Harris is accused of leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper in a hot car to die in June 2014. His trial on that charge is set to begin on April 11.

Friday's indictments are the result of a 20-month investigation of Harris' personal life and use of electronics to solicit sex with teenage girls. His new indictment includes two counts of sexual exploitation of children and six counts of disseminating harmful material to a minor.

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds issued a statement on Friday asserting that the case "will not be tried by the state in the media."

Reynolds credited "advances in electronic forensic analysis in conjunction with recent interviews of newly discovered victims" for the new charges.

"Had the State delayed charging any further, prosecution of some of the charges would have barred by the statute of limitations," Reynolds said.

Maddox Kilgore, the Marietta-based attorney representing Harris, contends the news charges have nothing to do with Cooper's death, though evidence of Harris conversing with a teenage the morning of his son's death were later recovered on his cell phone.

Kilgore said the indictment "signals the state's desperation to convict Ross of the worst mistake any of us as parents could make."

Harris remains behind bars in the Cobb County Jail, where he has been since Cooper's death.


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