• Woman says she sexted with Ross Harris day of his son's hot car death

    By: Hope Jensen

    Updated:

    GLYNN COUNTY, Ga. - An expert testified Wednesday morning that the temperature inside the car the day Cooper Harris died would have reached around 125 degrees.


    Day 9 Quick Facts

    • Four people testified
    • A heat transfer expert said temperatures reached around 125 degrees inside Harris' car the day Cooper died
    • He said it would have been 98 degrees around lunchtime when Harris returned to his car
    • Sexting partner says Harris told her his conscience never kicks in
    • Phone records show Harris messaged a woman about needing "escapes" the morning of Cooper's death
    • Defense says Harris was planning a cruise for his family at the time of Cooper's death

    David Michael Brani, a thermal dynamics and heat transfer expert, took the stand in the Ross Harris hot car death trial.

    Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt and Carl Willis are in Brunswick, where the trial is being held. They will have updates from inside the courtroom on Channel 2 Action News.

    Harris is accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, inside a hot car for nearly seven hours to kill him on June 18, 2014. He is facing eight charges, including malice murder.

    Heat test shows temperatures inside car

    Just weeks after Cooper's death, Brani conducted a heat test in Harris' car in which he measured the internal and external temperature throughout the day.

    He said they parked the car in the same spot that Harris had parked it the day of Cooper's death and continuously took temperature readings. The temperature on the day they did the test was 92 degrees, compared with 91 degrees the day Cooper Harris died.


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    Brani said the temperature maxed out at around 125 degrees around 3:30 p.m. Around lunchtime, when prosecutors say Harris returned to his car, Brani said the temperature at the car seat would have been around 98 degrees.

    David Michael Brani and Jesse Evans walk jurors through a graph of the temperature inside the car the day Cooper Harris died.
    David Michael Brani and Jesse Evans walk jurors through a graph of the temperature inside the car the day Cooper Harris died.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    The defense argued that temperatures would have been higher since Cooper was inside the car and would act as a heat source, but Brani disagreed, saying it wouldn't change his findings significantly.

    [Minute-by-minute: Day 9 of the Ross Harris hot car death trial]

    "In theory, the temperature may be a little warmer where that body was," he said. But he argued that any variables or discrepancies discovered in the morning would not "have any meaningful effect on the temperatures, especially in the afternoon."

    Brani said his testing in this case cost taxpayers around $24,000.

    Sexting partner says Harris never mentioned his son

    A woman who chatted with Ross Harris on the apps Whisper and Kik said he never mentioned he had a son.

    Caitlin Hickey Floyd said she and Harris talked for a few weeks leading up to June 18, 2014.

    A woman who chatted with Ross Harris on the apps Whisper and Kik read the messages between the two in court on Oct. 19, 2016. Caitlin Hickey Floyd said she sexted with Harris fairly consistently in the day's leading up to his son's death.
    A woman who chatted with Ross Harris on the apps Whisper and Kik read the messages between the two in court on Oct. 19, 2016. Caitlin Hickey Floyd said she sexted with Harris fairly consistently in the day's leading up to his son's death.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    Floyd said Harris told her he was very happy in his marriage, minus the sex.

    "He certainly doesn't indicate to you he's looking to end his marriage, get a divorce or get away from his wife does it?" Kilgore asked. "Not in that conversation, no," Floyd said.

    Floyd said he told her he didn't feel bad about sexting other women.

    "I asked him if his conscience ever kicked in and he replied with no," Floyd said.

    The defense insinuated that Harris lied in the chats to make himself seem more interesting. Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore said Floyd doesn't know if Harris was being truthful when he said his conscience never kicked in. They said the chatting was only a fantasy.

    "You understand that Cooper Harris died on the 18th, but you don't have any testimony at all that has anything to do with that?" Kilgore asked.

    Chat records show Floyd and Harris sexted up to and including the day of Cooper Harris death.

    Floyd said Harris would send her inappropriate pictures early in the morning. When she asked if he was alone, he replied, "I'm not."

    Floyd said on the day of Cooper's death, they chatted a few times beginning at 5:49 a.m. She said Harris asked her for an inappropriate photo of herself around 1:45 p.m. that day and she sent him one.

    Floyd said that was the last time she heard from Harris. She said she later learned on the news about his son's death.


     

    Detective pulls chats from Harris' phone

    A detective who pulled data from Harris phones and an iPad testified about images and chats found on the phone from the morning of June 18, 2014.

    Detective R.B. Smith, who works in the high tech crimes unit, said he was approached by another detective about an image found on Harris phone that read, "I hate being married with kids. The novelty has warn off and I have nothing to show for it."

    Prosecutors said this image was found on Harris' phone from June 18, 2014, the day of his son's death. They said the image was not uploaded or posted by Harris but Harris did comment on it and then begin a chat with the woman who posted it.
    Prosecutors said this image was found on Harris' phone from June 18, 2014, the day of his son's death. They said the image was not uploaded or posted by Harris but Harris did comment on it and then begin a chat with the woman who posted it.
    © 2019 Cox Media Group.

    Smith said he found that the image was from the app Whisper. He said Harris did not upload or post the photo, but did comment on it the morning of his son's death and then begin a private chat with the woman who posted it.

    Phone records show that in the chat, Harris said, "I miss having time to myself and going out with my friends." He then said, "My wife gets upset when I want to go out with friends."

    Around 9:15 a.m., prosecutors said Harris wrote the woman a message, saying, "I love my son and all but we both need escapes." They said that message was sent just minutes after Harris and Cooper got breakfast at Chick-fil-A.

    Smith was also responsible for picking up that surveillance video from Chick-fil-A.

    During cross-examination the defense pulled up recent search history on Harris' phone. They showed jurors a search at 12:48 a.m. that morning, in which Harris Googled child passport costs. Defense attorney Carlos Rodriguez said Harris was planning a cruise for his family.

    Smith will return to the stand when court resumes Thursday at 8:30 a.m.

    Other witnesses

    An executive from the app Whisper also took the stand Wednesday. Lauren Jamar said they are able to keep records of public posts, but do not keep any records of private chats.

    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.

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