'Hot Car Dad' Found Guilty of Murder After Leaving 22-Month-Old Son in SUV for 7 Hours
A Georgia man was found guilty of all charges — including murder — in the 2014 death of his 22-month-old son, who died after being left for hours in his father’s hot vehicle.
After a Glynn County jury of six men and six women deliberated for four days, Justin Ross Harris was convicted on all counts, including malice murder and two felony counts of murder, as well as two counts of cruelty to children related to his son’s death, authorities said.
Little Cooper Harris died on June 18, 2014, when his father left him in his SUV outside his office for nearly seven hours.
After leaving his son in the back of his car while he spent the day at The Home Depot corporate headquarters where he worked, Harris pulled into a shopping center parking lot, where he pulled Cooper’s lifeless body from the SUV.
Witnesses said he appeared distraught and was screaming.
On the day of his son’s death, Harris was found to be sexting with five women, as well as a then-15-year-old girl, phone records showed. He was also found to have met prostitutes for sex, prosecutors said.
Harris’ attorneys argued that he loved Cooper and made a tragic, horrible mistake, and that despite Harris’ moral failures, he would have never intentionally hurt his son.
But prosecutors said that the Harris purposefully caused his son’s death, arguing that then 33-year-old man had been living a double life, but wouldn’t leave his wife as long as his son was alive.
Detectives testified that they became suspicious of Harris’ statements and actions on the day of his son’s death, arresting him at the scene and charging him with murder.
In the interview room, Harris argued with detectives, telling them he didn’t understand why he was being charged because “there was no malicious intent.”
Cooper’s mother, Leanna Taylor, who filed for divorce from Harris after her son’s death, said during the trial that Harris “ruined my life."
"He destroyed my life," she said. "I'm humiliated. I may never trust anybody again the way I did. If I never see him again after this day, that's fine."
Harris faces life in prison. He will be sentenced at a later date.