• Local attorney says intent in hot car case could be hard to prove

    By: Kerry Kavanaugh


    ATLANTA - The defense team for Ross Harris says the father forgot his toddler was in the car in a matter of minutes.

    Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh spoke to a local attorney not affiliated with the case, who said that it will be one of toughest things to prove to a jury.

    "You're still focused on your child. So I think that’s going to be very difficult to overcome when they present an accident defense,” attorney Ashleigh Merchant said.

    Police said the father and son had just finished breakfast at Chick-Fil-a on Cumberland Parkway, less than a mile and half from Harris's office.

    Merchant said that could be a tough sell to jurors.

    "I find it hard to believe that the child was completely quiet, completely silent, to the point where he can be forgotten within two minutes," Merchant said.

    Police say that's how long the trip took.

    Kavanaugh set a timer and retraced Harris's route. She pulled out of the Chick-fil-a parking lot, turned right, and then made the U-turn on Cumberland Parkway.

    She had a green light at the Paces Ferry Road intersection. If Harris turned there, he would have headed toward Cooper's daycare. Kavanaugh arrived at the intersection roughly 1:15 into her ride.

    Just beyond the intersection is the office building where Harris worked.

    Kavanaugh arrived there less than two minutes after she left the restaurant.  About 10 seconds later, she parked.

    "Jurors are allowed to bring common sense and their own experiences into court," Merchant said.  "Moms are going to be a really tough one in this case because are going to have a hard time believing you forget about child in two minutes."

    Merchant said the defense will have to rely heavily on the reasonable doubt that Harris could have made a mistake that had fatal consequences. 

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