Some center around his wife of eight years, Leanna Harris. During a probable cause hearing on July 3, Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified that, when Harris was reunited with her husband after learning he had been charged with murder, she asked him, “Did you say too much?” He also testified that she had worried about the possibility of Cooper being left in a hot car, saying it was her “worst fear.” Police say both parents conducted Internet searches for information on child deaths in hot cars.
Now the lawyer representing Harris, who has not been charged in connection with Cooper’s death, is trying to provide some answers. In a statement released Tuesday, high-profile attorney Lawrence Zimmerman says that the 30-year-old dietitian has been unable to mourn the loss of her son. The statement, which is the first public comment made on behalf of Harris, does not mention her husband.
“Leanna Harris is living every parent’s nightmare – the child she bore and loved every moment of his life has died,” the statement begins. “For most parents, it is difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend such a thing. But for Leanna, that nightmare is all too real. She will never again be able to tuck him into bed at night and return later to check on him.
“She mourns Cooper’s death deeply, in her own private way. She takes comfort from a strong faith in God, but the loss is still overwhelming. Getting through each day seems almost impossible. Dealing with her grief has become more difficult as the days go on, however, in large part because of the constant speculation and innuendo in the media. Newspapers, television and online media have fostered a poisonous atmosphere in which Leanna’s every word, action and emotion – or failure to cry in front of a crowd – is scrutinized for some supposed hidden meaning. In much the same way, the press unjustly harassed and hounded Olympic bombing hero Richard Jewell when he didn t behave as some thought he should.”
The statement continues: “Reporters have delved into Leanna’s upbringing, her employment, quizzed people for information about her marriage, and her sex life. The constant attention has prevented her from returning to work. For Leanna, Cooper’s death has been devastating. She asks that she be allowed to grieve in private without reporters calling, following or watching her home. Since his death, she has been unable to have that time of mourning that every bereaved parent needs. Please allow her the dignity to mourn her son in private.”
Ross Harris has pleaded not guilty and is being held without bond in the Cobb County Jail. His lawyer calls Cooper’s death a “tragic accident.”