GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office said Ross Harris’ conviction is not a reason to celebrate.
Monday afternoon, jurors found Harris guilty on eight counts, including malice murder, for killing his 22-month-old son, Cooper, by intentionally leaving him inside a hot car for nearly seven hours in June 2014.
The decision came on the fourth day of deliberations.
“Today is not a victory, nor is it a day we celebrate. In fact, today is a monumentally sad day,” Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said about the verdict. "This has been a 29-month journey culminating in this guilty verdict. I want to thank the community of Glynn County for their hospitality and the Cobb Police Department for their hard work. And I certainly want to thank all the members of DA’s Office who worked on this case. It was a true team effort, and I believe justice was served today on behalf of young Cooper Harris.”
Prosecutors spoke with jurors about their decision just after the verdict was read.
Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring said jurors told him they were almost unanimously guilty from the beginning of their deliberations.
“They were almost unanimous early on, but they thought there was a duty they had to go through all the evidence and make sure they weren’t missing anything. I really have to tip my hat. They were honestly just amazing,” Boring said. “After going through all the evidence one-by-one, kind of as the investigation did – we thought initially maybe this was a negligent homicide and then the actual facts, the evidence stared us in the face and stared the detectives in the face and you couldn’t ignore it.”
Reynolds said from the first time they talked to detectives in 2014, they knew there was something wrong with this case.
“From the very first day, the Cobb PD, when they reached out to us said, ‘Something isn’t right about this case. There’s something wrong about this case.’ And we didn’t go into the case hoping it would be malice murder. We didn’t go into the case hoping that it would be anything but some God awful, tragic accident, but as brick-by-brick-by-brick-by-brick started laying in front of us, the foundation was built to proceed on with malice murder,” he said.
Boring said he still believes Harris planned Cooper’s death ahead of time.
“This is one of those occasions where actions speak louder than words in this case. Anybody who could do this, and the evidence showed that he did this intentionally, he had malice in his heart,” Boring said. “It’s oftentimes with these cases we deal with, if it’s somebody in a position of responsibility, somebody in a religious organization, something like that, that everybody in the world thinks is this great person, oftentimes we find that those are the people that take advantage of the most vulnerable, and I think this case kind of screams that.”
During trial, prosecutors called more than 50 witnesses to the stand. When they rested their case, the defense asked for a directed verdict, saying they didn’t believe the state had proved its case – but jurors clearly disagreed.
“I believe categorically, unequivocally, justice was served today,” Reynolds said.
Sentencing will take place Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m. in Cobb County.
The District Attorney's Office said Harris is facing a maximum of life in prison without parole plus an additional 42 years.
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