COBB COUNTY, Ga. — More than four years after Justin Ross Harris was convicted of murder in the hot car death of his son, the Cobb County father will be back in court.
Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark, who presided over Harris’ trial in 2016, will hear his motion for a new trial Dec. 14-16.
Harris, a former Home Depot web designer, was convicted in November 2016 of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper in his SUV for nearly seven hours on a sweltering June day in 2014.
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Harris is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The case made national headlines and ended up being moved to Brunswick, Georgia, after Clark determined Harris could not get a fair trial in Cobb County.
Prosecutors argued that Cooper’s death was intentional. They said Harris was living a double life and wanted to escape his family life to be “the other Justin Ross Harris.” During trial, jurors heard from multiple women who were sexting with Harris on the day of Cooper’s death, including a minor and a woman Harris claimed to love. Prosecutors said Harris wanted to live that life full time but wouldn’t leave his wife as long as his son was alive.
The defense said despite Harris’ moral failures, he loved his son and would never intentionally hurt him. They argued that it was a tragic accident and Harris was devastated by Cooper’s death.
His wife, Leanna Taylor, testified in his defense. She told Channel 2 in an interview after the trial that she refuses to believe what happened was anything but a horrible accident.
“This does happen. It has happened to other families, and it has been proven to be an accident in other cases,” she said. “It’s a horrible thing to try to accept as a parent that you could forget your child in your car and bring harm to them.”
Taylor maintains that Harris was a doting, caring father.
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