Five years after a Georgia man left his toddler son inside a hot car for eight hours, he’s still hoping to be released from prison one day and awaiting his court date after filing an appeal.
AJD reports that Justin Ross Harris still insists that his son Cooper’s death was an accident. Harris said he thought he dropped the little boy at daycare and had no idea he was still inside the car as he went to work for the day at the Home Depot office in Vinings.
In turn, five years ago today, the little boy experienced a horrific death, slowly dying inside a scorching hot car on a summer day. Harris even returned to the car during lunch to place some items inside, yet he claimed he didn’t notice his son strapped inside a car seat in the vehicle.
Experts testified that the little boy was likely dead by noon, given that the temperatures inside the car had reached around 98 degrees at the time Harris opened the vehicle door.
Shortly after, Harris returned to his office and began sending explicit messages to an underage girl. During his trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Harris had carried on several affairs behind his wife’s back, sent sexual messages to at least six different women, and researched child car deaths online.
Prosecutors said Harris wanted to be free of responsibility and planned in advance how he would kill his son.
In 2016, a jury convicted Harris of malice murder and sentenced him to life in prison. He’s currently housed in a segregation unit at Macon State Prison, for his own protection, according to his attorney, Carlos Rodriguez.
“Prison changes you,” Rodriguez said.
Harris continues to push for a new trial on grounds that “prejudicial testimony” made it an “absolute impossibility” for him to receive a fair trial, according to the outlet. Harris’ defense team argued that showing evidence of affairs and sexual addiction tainted the jury’s view of Harris.
The defense team also argued that the court stopped them from questioning the credibility of the police officers who testified during his trial.
No court date has been set for Harris, but Rodriguez said the man holds onto hope that he’ll eventually prove his innocence.
“He still has that optimism, still has his faith, still has his sharpness. Ross is going to be another chapter in that book of wrongly convicted persons who is eventually found innocent.”
[Feature Photo: Justin Ross Harris via Stephen B. Morton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool]