Man convicted of murder in hot car death to be sentenced

Justin Ross Harris, of Atlanta, has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his 22-month-old son, Cooper. Three other charges were related to text messages and images Harris sent to underage girls on the day of Cooper's death.

Cooper, died on June 18, 2014, after he spent about seven hours in a auto seat in Harris' locked SUV in the Atlanta area.

Of note, during trial proceedings the prosecution told of Harris watching a video about hot vehicle deaths in the days before the killing, while on the day of the killing the father was ensconced in a series of illicit sex-texts with a woman whose private parts he'd sent photos of.

Cooper Harris died after sitting for about seven hours in the back seat of his father's SUV outside the office where Harris worked in suburban Atlanta on a day when temperatures reached at least into the high 80s.

Jurors convicted Harris of felony murder, and first- and second-degree cruelty to a child for abandoning the boy in the hot auto.

If you recall, Justin not only left his child to die in the steaming hot auto, but he also had been sexting SIX women - including a minor!

Judge Mary Staley Clark, Cobb County Superior Court Judge, could sentence the former Home Depot Inc web developer to a maximum of life in prison without parole, plus 42 years.

Harris, wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles, appeared emotionless in court after signing a sentencing document. They concluded that Harris intentionally killed his son to escape the responsibilities of family life. She said the jury's verdict showed they believed the murder of Cooper Harris was deliberate and wanton and that Cooper's horrendous death called for the sentence.

Jurors found Harris guilty of felony murder, and first- and second-degree cruelty to a child for leaving the boy in the hot vehicle.

Harris' lawyers said that though he was responsible for the boy's death, he loved his son and the incident was the result of a tragic forgetfulness.

Harris moved to Georgia from Alabama in 2012.

Besides Cooper's death, the charges referred to sexually explicit online exchanges from March 2014 through the day of Cooper's death that, prosecutors said, Harris had with an underage girl.

State witnesses testified that Harris lived what prosecutors described as a "double life".

He said Harris and his son ate breakfast just over half a mile from the Home Depot office where Harris worked as a computer technician, and Harris parked his SUV by backing up between two vehicles - which would have required looking over his shoulder toward the backseat where his son Saturday.

After 22 days of testimony and 70 witnesses, 52 for the state and 18 for the defense, the jury began its deliberations. Before becoming a judge, Staley was the Assistant District Attorney for the Cobb Judicial Circuit from 1978-1982.

Harris' defense maintained his sexual behavior had nothing to do with Cooper's death.



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