Police: “Hot Car Death” Dad Was Sexting As His Son Was Dying

Justin Ross Harris (photo courtesy of Cobb County Police)
Justin Ross Harris. (Cobb County Police)

Justin Ross Harris is the beaver-faced Georgia dad suspected of purposely allowing his 22-month-old son to bake to death inside his SUV on June 18, 2014. A judge found probable cause to present murder and child cruelty charges against Harris before a grand jury.

What is already known about Harris doesn’t look good for his case:

• He and his wife had taken out insurance policies totaling $27,000 on the toddler’s life.
• Before his son’s death, he had visited a subreddit called “childfree.”
• He had also searched the phrase “how to survive in prison.”
• Both he and his wife had conducted Web searches regarding how long it takes for children and animals to die in cars.
• With his son still in the backseat and likely already dead, Harris put some newly purchased lightbulbs in his SUV while on his lunch break.

The following was revealed during testimony in July 2014:

• Lead detective Phil Stoddard claimed that while Cooper Harris was dying of hyperthermia, his father sexted a half-dozen women, including a girl who was 16 at the time. (Harris is 33.) The messages included dick pics.
• One of the text exchanges involved a woman asking Harris whether he had a conscience; he replied, “Nope.”
• When his wife visited Harris at the police station during an initial investigation, she allegedly asked him, “Did you say too much?” (Leanna Harris spent most of the afternoon in the courtroom chewing gum and looking bored.)
• When the boy’s mom went to pick him up from school at 2PM and was informed he had never been dropped off, Leanna Harris reportedly kept saying, “Ross must have left him in the car.”
• When a detective told Harris he was going to be charged with murder, he allegedly said, “But there was no malicious intent,” as if he’d studied exactly what constitutes murder in a legal sense.

A judge denied bond for Harris. If convicted of murder, he could face the death penalty. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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