ATLANTA - The lawyer representing a Cobb County mother whose husband is accused of intentionally leaving their 22-month-old son in a hot car to die, told Channel 2 Action News that Leanna Harris is living every parent’s worst nightmare and is asking people to respect her privacy.
“The child she bore and loved every moment of his life has died,” attorney Lawrence Zimmerman said in a statement sent to Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik. “For most parents, it is difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend such a thing. But for Leanna, that nightmare is all too real. She will never again be able to tuck him into bed at night and return later to check on him.”
An attorney for Harris’ husband, Ross, said he accidentally left son Cooper in his SUV June 28 and went to work at Home Depot Headquarters. Prosecutors said the boy remained in the vehicle for seven hours with temperatures in the 90s.
After a probable cause hearing a few weeks ago, focus turned from Ross to wife Leanna, who seemed to show little emotion during the lengthy hearing.
A detective testified Leanna Harris could be heard asking Ross if he “said too much,” and that her first reaction upon hearing Cooper wasn’t in day care was to say that Ross likely left the child in the car.
Leanna Harris is not facing any criminal charges.
Zimmerman cautioned the public and the media to take a step back.
“She mourns Cooper’s death deeply, in her own private way. She takes comfort from a strong faith in God, but the loss is still overwhelming. Getting through each day seems almost impossible,” Zimmerman’s statement said.
“Dealing with her grief has become more difficult as the days go on, however, in large part because of the constant speculation and innuendo in the media. Newspapers, television and online media have fostered a poisonous atmosphere in which Leanna’s every word, action and emotion -- or failure to cry in front of a crowd -- is scrutinized for some supposed hidden meaning. In much the same way, the press unjustly harassed and hounded Olympic bombing hero Richard Jewell when he didn’t behave as some thought he should,” the statement added.
Zimmerman questioned why reporters have delved into Leanna Harris' past, including her upbringing, her job and her sex life.
“For Leanna, Cooper’s death has been devastating,” Zimmerman wrote. “She asks that she be allowed to grieve in private without reporters calling, following or watching her home. Since his death, she has been unable to have that time of mourning that every bereaved parent needs. Please allow her the dignity to mourn her son in private.”