New Venue Sidelines Georgia ‘Hot Car’ Trial

     MARIETTA, Ga. (CN) — Despite needing just one more juror to begin the “hot-car death” trial, a judge ruled Monday that defendant Justin Ross Harris would not be able to receive a fair trial in Cobb County.
     Citing “pervasive knowledge” due to “constant” media coverage, Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley granted the defense’s motion for a change of venue.
     “This courtroom has not been a place of mild opinions,” Staley said, citing comments from potential jurors.
     One juror, Staley noted, said “Rot in Hell,” while another referred to the defendant as a “pervert.” One potential juror said Harris deserved the death penalty — which the state is not seeking in this case.
     The defense and prosecution met for more than an hour to discuss striking qualified jurors the defense claimed were biased. But they were unable to make an agreement.
     Harris is accused of purposely leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper in a hot car to die in June 2014. He has also been indicted on eight charges related to his “sexting” with minors.
     “While we’re certainly disappointed, we understand and respect the court’s ruling,” Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds said in a statement. “Whenever and wherever this case is set for trial, the state will be ready.”

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