Posted: 10:48 a.m. Friday, July 4, 2014

Warrants target life insurance, finances of father accused of leaving child in car

Ross Harris remains in the Cobb County Jail without bond

Related

Child dies in car, father’s story not adding up to investigators photo
Ross Harris is accused of letting his son, Cooper, die in a hot car.
Leanna Harris leaves bond hearing photo
BILL TORPY/AJC
Leanna Harris, the mother of 22-month-old Cooper Harris (left), leaves the Cobb County courtroom Thursday. Her husband, Justin Ross Harris, was denied bond Thursday. He is charged with murder in the hot car death.

COBB COUNTY, Ga. —

New warrants released Friday in the case of a Cobb County father accused of leaving his child in a hot car show police searched a variety of devices for financial and life insurance information.

The warrants obtained by Channel 2 Action News allowed investigators to search the home of Ross Harris and to examine electronic devices.

Harris, 33, is accused of leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in the family SUV for seven hours on June 18. The child died from the heat.  

Police filed warrants to search Harris’ computer tower, laptop computers, iPad and Google Chromecast.  Detectives said they planned to search for information about finances, credit card debt, business information, life insurance information, family issues and any correspondence.

Warrants also asked for permission to enter the Harris home and check on light bulbs. Harris purchased light bulbs and placed them in his car after lunch on the day of Cooper’s death.

Police also wanted to learn more about any Internet searches involving car deaths, car seats and child development.

The new warrants come a day after a dramatic court hearing in which a Cobb County judge ruled there is probable cause to charge Harris with murder and child cruelty.

Magistrate Judge Frank Cox also ordered Ross to remain in the Cobb County Jail without bond. Cox mentioned the possibility of the death penalty as one of the reasons he denied bond for Harris.

Prosecutors spent a lot of time insinuating that Cooper's death was not an accident and that Harris had looked up websites about living without children, about people dying, and on how to survive in prison.

According to the warrants, Harris told police he recently watched a television show involving child deaths in cars and it was his biggest fear. He said he researched the issue on the Internet. Prosecutors later said Leann Harris also searched the same topic.

He also was able to detail for police the make and model of his car seat and the weight limit. Police said straps in the car seat were set to the lowest level for a small child.

Prosecutors also spelled out the financial and marital problems of Ross and Leann Harris, however warrants released Friday indicate a happy marriage.

Detective Phil Stoddard said in Thursday’s hearing said Harris spent the day of the death exchanging explicit messages and photos with six different women.  

The newly released warrants say Harris told police he had recently started a new business and had acquired debt. He explained $4,000 in credit card debt as a means of acquiring frequent flier miles. Harris and his wife also had student loans and car loans.

Detectives testified Thursday that the Harris family had two life insurance policies on Cooper. One for $25,000 and one for $2,000 issued through his employer.

Harris made comments to family regarding the life insurance policies and what they need to do to file for the money, according to the warrants.

Police also asked for permission to obtain personnel records from The Home Depot looking for evidence of the life insurance, pay stubs and other paper work.

Harris’ attorney argued in court on Thursday that the child’s death is not intentional and he brought in friends and a brother of Harris as character witnesses who described him as a loving father.  

Family members left the courthouse Thursday with no comment in the case.

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