Justin Harris to stand trial for allegedly leaving son in hot ca - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Justin Harris to stand trial for allegedly leaving son in hot car

Justin Ross Harris. Source: Cobb County Jail Justin Ross Harris. Source: Cobb County Jail

A Cobb County, Georgia judge found enough probable cause to send Justin Ross Harris to stand trial for allegedly killing his son by leaving him in a hot car.

Harris, a Tuscaloosa native, was also denied a request to give Harris a $50,000 bond on Thursday.

Justin Harris is in the Cobb County Jail awaiting trial for allegedly killing his son, Cooper, by leaving him in a hot car for around seven hours while he was at work in June. He is charged with felony murder and second-degree cruelty to children.

During Thursday's testimony, prosecutors accused Harris of sexting several women the day Cooper Harris died, inclyding one as young as 17.

"He was having up to six different conversations with different women, appeared from the messages from Kik, which is a messaging service," Cobb County Detective Phil Stoddard testified.

"And the conversations he was having with the females of what nature were they?" an attorney asked.

"The most common term would be sexting," Stoddard replied.

The defense fired back, saying that those details were unrelated to the case and were meant to shame Harris.

The prosecution also tried to show that Harris wanted to live a "child free life." He researched on the internet about children and animals being left in hot vehicles.

During the hearing, investigators said Harris had taken Cooper to Chick-fil-A for breakfast. Harris left the restaurant at 9:19 a.m. with Cooper, who appeared to be awake and happy.

Prosecutors say 30 seconds after leaving the restaurant, Harris turned to go to work and not Cooper's daycare.

They said Harris then drove less than a mile to work and arrived at 9:25 a.m., according to investigators at the hearing.

Stoddard testified when Harris arrived at his job at Home Depot in Georgia and reached for his computer bag, he had to see his son.

"He would have to turn to the right and lean over the center console and pick up the computer on the right side of the car," Stoddard said.

An attorney then asked, "And what would have been there?"

"There would have been Coopers' car seat," the detective said.

Harris allegedly received an email from his son's daycare around 1:30 p.m. It's not immediately clear what that email said.

Investigators also said Harris had plans to go to a 5 p.m. movie with friends after he left work at 4:16 p.m.

The Cobb County Medical Examiner's office found the child's cause of death "consistent with hyperthermia" and suggested the death was a homicide.

One defense witness in the parking lot testifed Harris was genuinely upset by his son's death.

"He was saying it out of hurt and disappointment, desperation. He was saying, 'Oh my God, my son is dead. Oh my God, my son is dead," Leonard Madden said.

Detectives say that Cooper was in rigor mortis when he was removed from the car.

A detective on the stand said Thursday the car smelled of decomposition still several hours after Cooper was discovered dead in the car.

The medical examiner's office is waiting for toxicology test results before making an official ruling.

Both parents of the deceased Cooper Harris have been questioned by Cobb County Police for online searches they made concerning child car deaths.

Investigators arlso revealed that Harris and his wife Leanna had two life insurance policies on Cooper totaling $27,000.

Harris will remain in jail until the trial.

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