Prosecution said Harris (seen in red) watched a video about hot car deaths days prior to his son death
Cooper Harris, intentionally abandoned to suffocate in a sweltering car by his dad, Justin Ross Harris
Happy family: Leanna and Justin Harris with their baby, Cooper Harris. Justin has been convicted in the death of Cooper. Leanna is divorced from Harris after a 10-year marriage.
A Georgia man whose toddler son died after being left for hours in a hot car was found guilty of murder on Monday. Justin Ross Harris, 35, was on trial charged with murder in the death of his 22-month-old son. The charges include two counts of cruelty to children and sexual exploitation of children. Cooper died in June 2014
He was convicted on all charges after his 22-month-old toddler Cooper died in a parking lot outside Harris’ workplace in metro Atlanta.
Harris, who moved to Georgia from Alabama in 2012, told police he forgot to take the boy to daycare.
Justin Ross Harris (left) with the infant son Cooper, a year earlier
Prosecutors say ‘he killed the child on purpose.’
Harris is alleged to have killed his son to escape his family responsibilities at a time when the father was pursuing amorous interests outside his marriage.
At the onset of the trial Leanna Taylor defended her husband of 10 years as a loving father, who would not have left their son to die intentionally. However, after his reprehensible actions immediately after their sons’s death was revealed in court Ms Taylor came back the next day and said “He destroyed my life.”
Leanna Taylor, who divorced Harris in March after 10 years of marriage, had taken the witness stand in his defense a day prior. She walked the jury through a series of family photos and touching video clips cute enough to make some jurors laugh out loud. It was her contention that Harris would not have left their son to die, intentionally. But she spoke of Harris in much harsher a day later after prosecutors portrayed how little she really knew Of the man she lived with, for a decade. Evidence in the trial revealed that Harris, not long before his son’s death, met a prostitute for sex. He went online seeking sexual encounters with men and women. The day Cooper died, Harris was swapping sexual text messages with a 17-year-old girl, asking for a photo of her breasts.
Lead prosecutor Chuck Boring told the court that Harris intentionally left the boy in the SUV to “suffer an unimaginable, horrible death,” as mounds of evidence showed the extent of the defendant’s infidelity. The trial included sexts between Harris and several teenage girls.
Jaynie Meadows was 18-year-old college student when she met Harris online in 2013: He told me he “loved me everyday”
Jaynie Meadows, who was an 18-year-old college student when she first met Harris online in 2013, testified that he told her he “loved me everyday,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
In one message, Harris told Meadows, now 21, that “if (Cooper) wasn’t in the picture, I probably would have left L by now,” referring to his ex-wife, Leanna Taylor.
Harris exchanged messages with at least one other woman, Molly Sims, who was 18 years old at the time. She testified that she chatted with him on messaging apps Kik and Whisper.
The parade of Justin Harris paramours around the time he is accused of murdering his son
Elizabeth Smith was not available for sex the morning Cooper died, as Harris tried to hookup with her
Caitlin Hickey-Floyd exchanged messages with Harris, sometimes of a sexual nature. ‘When I asked him if he had a conscience, he replied, “No.”‘
sexting partner Caitlin Hickey-Floyd testified “I asked him if he was married, and then I asked him if he had a conscience and he said no,” Floyd said. In part of the message, Harris said he was happily married except for the sex.
Alexandra Swindell : 18-years-old when she met Harris, their talk was”Mostly sexual”. She said he picked her up at her dorm. We “Parked and talking and kissing and then eventually I performed oral sex on him”.
Alexandra Swindell was a student at the University of Alabama when she started chatting online with Justin Ross Harris in 2012.
“If you could generally describe the nature of those conversations to the jury,” prosecuting attorney Susan Treadway said.
“Mostly sexual,” Swindell said. She said they took their relationship a step further when he picked her up at her dorm. We “Parked and talking and kissing and then eventually I performed oral sex on him and then he drove me back home,” Swindell said.
Daniela Doerr, an escort who testified she had sex with Justin Harris shortly before Cooper died
Jacqueline Robledo had online chats with Ross Harris on the app Kik. She said that Harris spoke of Cooper with pride.
Yet another woman, Alexandra Swindell, testified that Harris picked her up from her University of Alabama dorm room in 2013 and drove her to a secluded area where she performed oral sex on him.
Harris texted her a photo of his genitals in May 2014, a month before Cooper died. Three days before the boy died, they discussed plans to meet up for a second rendezvous.
The morning Cooper died Harris tried to hookup with a third woman, Elizabeth Smith, for sex. She responded that she was in Hilton Head and wasn’t available.
Other evidence exposed at trial showed that Harris had watched a video about hot car deaths in the days before the killing and that minutes before he locked the toddler in his car, he said, “I love my son and all, but we both need escapes.”
The defendant’s ex-wife Leanna Taylor testified that her former husband did not kill their child on purpose, though the jury found him guilty of both intentional malice murder and felony murder because Cooper died while Harris was committing cruelty to children.
Harris, whose defense team has called the death a tragic accident, faces life in prison after his convictions, which also include two counts of cruelty to children and sexual exploitation of children.
The prosecution and defense made their closing arguments last Monday following more than a month of testimony in Brunswick, a city 275 miles from Atlanta where the trial was moved because of pretrial publicity.
Monday’s verdict came on the jury’s fourth day of deliberations.