• Judge says "sexting" charges to stay in hot car death trial

    Updated:

    COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Jurors will hear about sexting in the trial of a man accused of leaving his young son in a hot car to die.
     
    Ross Harris is the Cobb County man accused of killing his son, Cooper, by leaving him in a hot car last summer. 
     
    Harris' lawyers desperately tried to keep the sexting out of the upcoming trial on Monday, but prosecutors say it could prove why he did it.
     
    The lead detective in the case testified Monday that he'd uncovered tens of thousands of texts showing Ross Harris was not the loving husband and father that he appeared to be.
     
    Harris was portrayed as a sex addict, chatting up and exchanging lewd pictures on anonymous chat sites with multiple women.



    One of those chats happened the morning of Cooper's death with a woman complaining about her life with a husband and kids.
     
    “And then he says my wife is upset when I get out with friends. I love my son and all, we both need escapes. That’s why he’s sitting at the Chick-fil-A with Cooper enjoying their last breakfast together,” Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified.   

    Cooper Harris was found dead in his father's SUV some seven hours later. Ross Harris claims he just forgot about his son that day.
     
    Besides Cooper's murder, Harris faces three charges revolving around sexting with a teenage girl. Prosecutors say he exchanged lewd pictures with the teen, including on that fateful day.
     
    “All of this going on while Cooper was in the car on the day of his death,” said Cobb County Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring.
     
    Harris' attorneys say the sexting charges will just smear his client.



    But prosecutors say it shows motive, shows why Harris would kill his own son. They say he was looking for another life.
     
    “You’re suggesting that he misses going out with his friends and that is motive for his murder,” Boring asked Stoddard.

    “I think its one little piece,” Stoddard said.

    The judge set the trial for Feb. 22. Defense attorneys say they’re not sure they will be ready.

    Next Up: