GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. — A Home Depot security officer, two detectives and an escort who met with Ross Harris before his son's death all took the stand in the Ross Harris hot car death trial Friday.
Harris is accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in a hot car for more than seven hours to kill him in June 2014. He is facing eight charges, including malice murder.
- 4 people testified for the state
- Security officer described Leanna Harris as "cold" watching news of son's death
- Detective says Harris looked at a childfree website on his phone
- Defense says there was no evidence Harris researched hot car deaths
- Escort testified she met with Harris three times the month before his son's death
Wesley Houston says he was working at the Home Depot Treehouse Office, where Harris worked, on the day of Cooper’s death. %
He spoke with Harris as he walked out the door that day.
He testified in court that he usually exchanged pleasantries with Harris, but never went into detail about their lives. But he remembered on that day, Harris told him as he was leaving that he was heading to the movies with his friends. He said that much detail was “out of character.”
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Officer said Leanna Harris was "cold" while watching news of death
Houston said he found out about Cooper’s death a short while later while still at the office. He told jurors that he knew something was wrong when a security officer showed up with Leanna Harris, Cooper’s mother. %
Houston says Leanna Harris was agitated when she came in, asking, “Where’s Ross? Where’s my son?”
Moments later, Houston said tthe television in the lobby, which was on WSB-TV, turned to breaking news about a dead child.
As they all watched the news unfold, Houston said Leanna’s emotions went “from hot to not” and she became “cold.”
"When she first came in, she had a whole lot of steam. As time went on, her emotions died out. It was, like, 'Huh, oh well.' She was just sitting there like nothing happened. To me, as a parent, you lose a child or you see some breaking news or something, you are full of emotion. She didn't have any," Houston said.
Houston said after that day, he didn’t watch the news coverage of the case because it was too much for him.
A retired Cobb County police detective took the stand after Houston. He said he was responsible for analyzing cellphones and other device data for the case.
Detective Ray Yeager said he found Ross Harris had accessed Reddit five times on his work computer using the term "childfree." He said Harris specifically typed into the browser "reddit.com/r/childfree." The other four times were just things he clicked on in connection with that initial search. One of the articles was titled, "Dating is nearly impossible." %
The defense then questioned Yeager about previous reports that Harris had researched hot car deaths before Cooper's death. Yeager said he did not specifically look at Harris' search history. The only thing he remembered looking at was all history relating to the word "child," which is where he found the childfree website. He said the term "child death" did not come up anywhere in that search.
When questioned further by the defense, Yeager said his analysis didn't find anything specifically about hot car deaths, but he passed along the search history to detectives, who then looked into it further.
Yeager said he also analyzed Leanna Harris' computer but did not find anything on it that would have made her a suspect.
"I wasn't looking for that data, that information," Yeager said.
A second detective who analyzed Ross Harris' personal computer also testified. She said she did not find anything of interest on the device.
The final witness of the day was an escort who said she met with Ross Harris three times beginning in May 2014.
Daniela Doerr said a detective, who initially pretended to be interested in her services, showed her Harris' photo in September of that year. Doerr said she immediately recognized him from her meetings and then realized he was the man on the news. %
"In that business, you have a memory. You can't block it out unless you just completely lose your whole self in that," she said.
Doerr said she remembered him because of his appearance.
"The way I was able to describe him is he just, he didn't have any presence about himself. He didn't care. A little dumpy, just a little overweight, a little on the hefty side. He just didn't care about his appearance. You could just tell," she said.
Doerr said Harris was strictly business and didn't talk about his life with her.
"There was never any nervousness. It was always like he was very relaxed. Nothing was ever going on. He really didn't talk about much. It was more or less strictly business and then go along your way," she said.
Court will resume Monday at 8:30 a.m.
You can watch the entire trial LIVE on WSBTV.com/Ross-Harris-Trial. We will have minute-by-minute coverage as well as a daily summary from the courtroom each day. Like Ross Harris Updates on Facebook and follow @RossHarrisTrial on Twitter for updates throughout the trial.
Cox Media Group