COBB COUNTY, Ga. — There will not be a new trial for the Cobb County father accused of leaving his son in a hot car to die. The murder case shocked the metro.
Cooper Harris was 22 months old when he died in June 2014.
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His father, Ross Harris, said he forgot he was supposed to take his baby to daycare and went to work. He did not realize the child was locked in the car, strapped in his rear-facing car seat until he left work for the day after 4:00 p.m.
Detectives believe the child died sometime before noon that day.
Harris was sentenced to life in prison for murder and child cruelty in 2016. The Georgia Supreme Court overturned that conviction last year. The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office announced it would not retry the case on Thursday.
“He’s relieved,” said Harris’ defense attorney Carlos Rodriguez. “This was an unintentional accident one that happens to parents across the country, and Ross was no different.”
Chuck Boring, the Cobb County Assistant District Attorney in 2016, argued that this was no accident.
“He wanted to be free of his wife and child,” said Boring.
His team added on charges of sex crimes against minors to show motive.
“His behavior had escalated to messaging, and, not to get too descriptive, but committing crimes involving underage girls,” said Boring.
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A jury convicted Harris in 2016. He was sentenced to life in prison for the murder and child cruelty charges and 12 years for the sex crime charges. Fast forward six years, Georgia’s Supreme Court reversed the murder and child cruelty charges.
After 11 months of review, the DA’s office said it wouldn’t retry the case writing:
“On June 22, 2022, a six-three majority of the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed the counts about Cooper’s murder, ruling that the trial court erroneously allowed the State to admit motive evidence relating to the defendant’s sexual crimes and activities. A dissent was authored and published the same day. Although we disagree with the outcome of the majority opinion and agree with the reasoning set forth by the dissenting justices, we are bound by the majority’s decision.”
Boring argued, there is plenty of evidence to retry the case.
“The new district attorney never talked to me or gave me any notice that this would happen. He didn’t contact anybody on the original prosecution team regarding this decision or ask any questions about how he came to this decision and if we had any information to provide on that. So, I’m very taken aback by it,” said Boring.
Next month, the ninth anniversary of Cooper’s death falls on Father’s Day.
“It’s not lost on me that June 18 this year, the anniversary of Cooper’s death, falls on Father’s Day. So, it will certainly hit a little differently this year,” said Rodriguez.
His client will remain in jail, serving that 12-year sentence for the child sex crimes, which will be over in 2026.
He could be eligible for parole before that.
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