Justin Ross Harris' Parents Say Son 'Accidentally' Killed Their Grandson by Leaving Him in Hot Car
The Georgia father was convicted of murdering his 22-month-old son, Cooper, by leaving him in a sweltering SUV in 2014
"Any of the family who you talk to would say that Justin just didn't do it -- not on purpose," his mother, Evelyn Harris, told CBS-46.
Harris, 39, was convicted in 2016 of murdering his 22-month-old son, Cooper. He is serving a life sentence.
Harris took Cooper to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast on June 18, 2014. After they ate, Harris neglected to take Cooper to his regular day care. Instead, he drove to his job as a web designer for Home Depot and locked the car doors while he worked. Temperatures soared to nearly 90 degrees that day. By the time Harris got out of work, Cooper was dead.
Harris was charged with eight felony counts, including malice murder, cruelty to children and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors said that Harris killed his son so he could be free to have sex with as many women as possible.
During the trial, detectives made several explosive statements against Harris, alleging that he exchanged sexual text messages with six different women on the day his son died. One of the people he allegedly sexted was just 16 years old.
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But the defense team argued that Cooper's death was a tragic accident, and that Harris did not intend to kill his young son.
A jury sided with the prosecution, and Harris was convicted of all charges. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
But in an appeal filed the following year, Harris’ legal team argued that prejudicial testimony “made it an absolute impossibility” for the 39-year-old to receive a fair trial. The motion said that the court prevented Harris’ defense from attacking the credibility of police officers involved in the investigation.
Harris request for a new trial will finally be considered this December. Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark has scheduled three days to hear Harris’ motion for a new trial on Dec. 14-16.
Harris' parents told CBS-46 that their son realizes that he may not be released from prison, but hopes that his situation can serve as a cautionary tale to others. "He said, 'If one child lives because of me, I'm okay with it,'" Evelyn Harris told the station.