- Justin Ross Harris is accused of leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper to die in a scorching hot SUV on June 18
- Prosecutors said he spent that day exchanging nude photos with six different women, including teenagers
- Judge Frank R. Cox denied Harris bond, calling it a ‘possible death penalty case
- Harris’ wife told police the pair had been having intimacy issues
- Investigators told the court that when Leanna Harris met her husband at the police station she asked: ‘Did you say too much?’
- The couple had a $25,000 life insurance policy on their son in 2012
- A detective testifying at Thursday’s hearing said evidence showed Harris was leading a double life and should not be granted bond
- Justin Harris had already admitted to researching child deaths online
- On Thursday it emerged he had also done an internet search for ‘how to survive in prison’ before the toddler’s death
- After listening to evidence from both sides, the judge said he was denying bond and so Harris must remain in prison until his trial
- Friends had previously described Harris and his wife as being the ‘most proud parents there ever could have been’
The father accused of leaving his 22-month-old son to die in a scorching hot SUV had been exchanging racy text messages and nude photos with six different women, some teenagers, on the day that his young son passed away.
Justin Ross Harris, 33, was refused bond on Thursday by a judge who called it a ‘possible death penalty case.’
He will remain on jail on murder and child cruelty charges in relation to the June 18 death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.
Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified at Thursday’s hearing that evidence showed Harris was practically leading a double life and should not be granted bond. Harris has pleaded not guilty.
Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia man charged with murder after his toddler son died inside of a hot SUV, was refused bond on Thursday and will now remain in jail until he is tried
Justin Ross Harris is accused of leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper to die in a scorching hot SUV on June 18
Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard, right, testified at Thursday’s hearing that evidence showed Justin Ross Harris, left, was practically leading a double life and should not be granted bond.
Stoddard described the evidence police have suggesting Harris, who is charged with murder, killed his 22-month-old son Cooper intentionally.
Harris has told police he was supposed to drive his son to day care the morning of June 18 but drove to work without realizing that his son was strapped into a car seat in the back.
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Harris was exchanging nude photos with six women, including teenagers, even on the day his son died. While at work he used a smartphone messaging app called Kik and sent photos of his private parts, Stoddard said.
‘We’ve only scratched the surface,’ said Stoddard with regards to the searches done on Harris’ computers.
Happy family? Justin Ross Harris pictured with wife Leanna and son Cooper. The couple had both a $2,000 and a $25,000 life insurance policy on their son.
It was revealed at the hearing that Justin Rose Harris Harris had exchanged nude photos with six women, including teenagers, on the day his son died
Harris’ wife told police the pair were having intimacy issues, according to Stoddard. There are texts to indicate that she knew he was cheating on her.
‘We plan to show that he wanted to live a child-free life,’ the prosecution told the judge.
Stoddard testified that before the boy died, Harris had visited the website Reddit to search for articles on life without children, and viewed videos on Reddit that showed people dying – by suicide or execution, in some cases.
Harris had also twice viewed a video that shows the painful death of animals left in hot cars, and had searched for ‘how to survive in prison’, according to searches of his laptop, Stoddard said.
‘I think the evidence now is showing intent,’ Stoddard said.
He said Harris should remain in jail because he is a flight risk: There is evidence he was leading a double life, he has family in Alabama, and the former 911 dispatcher has law enforcement experience.
Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore said that evidence had no bearing on Harris’ intent.
‘I think the real purpose of all that is to publicly shame him,’ Kilgore said
Harris is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and moved to Georgia in 2012 to work for Home Depot.
The detective said both Harris and his wife, Leanna Harris, seemed unemotional after learning their son died.
Harris never called 911 after finding the boy unresponsive in his SUV on June 18, Stoddard said.
Harris described Cooper as peaceful with his eyes closed, when this wasn’t the case, according to Stoddard. He allegedly also told his wife: ‘I dreaded how he would look’
Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified at a hearing that evidence showed Justin Ross Harris was practically leading a double life and should not be granted bond.
The detective told the court that Cooper suffered a ‘painful death.’ He said the temperature that day 88 degrees.
Stoddard said Harris’ wife came to the day care the afternoon the boy died, June 18, and was told the child wasn’t there.
According to witnesses, she then said her husband must have left the toddler in the car.
According to Stoddard, Harris only became emotional when he was with his wife at the police station.
‘It was all about him: “I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why am I being punished for this?” It was all very one-sided,’ Stoddard said.
‘He talked about losing his job… “What are we going to do? I’ll be charged with a felony.'”
According to Stoddard, Leanna Harris then asked her husband, ‘Did you say too much?’
Harris also described Cooper as peaceful with his eyes closed, when this wasn’t the case, according to Stoddard. He allegedly also told his wife: ‘I dreaded how he would look.’
Harris sat impassively in an orange jail jumpsuit during the hearing.
It was also revealed that the couple had both a $2,000 and a $25,000 life insurance policy on their son in November 2012 and that Harris’ wife ‘was complaining about his purchasing, sporadic purchasing or overcharging credit cards.’
Justin Ross Harris, right, the father of a toddler who died after police say he was left in a hot car for about seven hours, arrives for his bond hearing at Cobb County Magistrate Court in Georgia on Thursday
Suspicious: Police say Justin Ross Harris admitted to researching child death shortly before son Cooper Harris was declared dead in a shopping center parking lot
Scores of reporters and members of the public gathered on Thursday at Cobb County Magistrate Court in suburban Atlanta for the hearing.
Stoddard also described Harris’ account of what happened that morning.
Harris portrayed himself to investigators as a doting father who always kissed his son when he strapped him into the car seat because ‘he wanted Cooper to know his daddy loves him,’ the detective said.
He told police he had watched cartoons in bed with the boy, then had breakfast with him at a Chick-fil-A restaurant.
Harris said he forgot to drop the boy off at daycare, instead driving straight to work without realizing that his son was strapped into a rear-facing car seat in the back.
Cooper died after being left in the car for more than seven hours while Harris was at work. Harris claims he simply forgot his child was in the back seat.
Autopsy results showed Cooper died of hyperthermia, and that the investigation ‘suggests the manner of death is homicide,’ the Cobb County Police Department said.
Stoddard said that when Harris stopped on his way to a 5 p.m. movie, he pulled over and took Cooper out of the car. Stoddard said Cooper was dead when his father pulled him from the back seat.
Witness Leonard Madden told the court that he heard Harris say ‘Oh my God, oh my God, my son is dead, oh my god’
A defense witness testified that Harris appeared to be extremely upset after pulling into the parking lot, trying to do CPR on his son.
‘He was saying, “Oh my God, oh my God, my son is dead, oh my god,'” said witness Leonard Madden.
Alex Hall, a friend of Harris since their sophomore year of college and a co-worker at Home Depot, said Harris talked about how much he loved his son all the time.
He said he, another co-worker and Harris had gone to lunch the day the boy died and had planned to go to the movies after work that day.
‘Nothing stuck out,’ he said. ‘Nothing was weird.’
They two men later took Harris to his car so he could put a couple of light bulbs he had purchased inside.
Kilgore, the defense attorney, said that showed Harris did not mean to leave the boy there.
‘If that were the case, why in the world would he bring his colleagues right up to the car?’ he asked.
Kilgore said Harris had also sent his wife a text that afternoon asking, ‘When are you going to pick up my buddy?’
After listening to the evidence from both sides, the judge said he found there was probable cause and bond was denied.
Justin Harris is escorted into the Cobb county Magistrate court house in Georgia where he was charged with murder after his 22-month-old son died from being left in a hot car for seven hours
Search warrants released over the weekend showed Harris told investigators he had done an online search on what temperature could cause a child’s death in a vehicle.
The warrant doesn’t specify when Harris did the searches. Police have said facts in the case ‘do not point toward simple negligence.’
The Cobb County Medical Examiner’s office said last week that officials believe the child died of hyperthermia – a condition in which the body overheats. The medical examiner has called the death a homicide.
The temperature that day was 88 degrees at 5:16 p.m., according to a warrant filed the day after the child died.
Friends say that before the child’s death, Justin Ross Harris lived a happy life with his wife and his young son.
Friends describe Harris – whose friends refer to as Ross – and his wife, Leanna, as being the ‘most proud parents there ever could have been’ when their son Cooper was born about two years ago.
Other friends echo the praise for the young couple, who use words like ‘nice’ and ‘friendly’ to describe the man of intentionally killing his own son by leaving him in a scorching vehicle on a hot summer day.
According to a police affidavit released on Sunday, Cobb County police say Leanna Harris has admitted to researching child deaths in hot cars online, but has not been charged
‘Very nice, normal, mannered person. We’d see each other passing, say hi,’ Cathy Ferguson, a neighbor in couple’s Marietta, Georgia neighborhood, told WSBTV.
The Harris’ landlord, Joe Saini, also gave the couple a glowing review to local media outlets.
‘Everything was going right for this couple,’ Saini told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ‘They wanted to buy a house so they could have some space for their child to run around the backyard.’
Other friends weighed in on the couple on a Change.org petition to have the murder charge against Harris dropped. The petition was recently shut down.
‘Ross is an incredible friend,’ William Bryant of Houston, Texas wrote. ‘He’s always the first to help when tragedy strikes others, so I’m returning the favor to him.’
Friend Matt Wiley had similar things to say about his longtime pal.
‘I have known this man for years,’ Wiley wrote. ‘He is a great friend, a great husband and a great father.’
Not welcome: Justin Ross Harris was banned from the funeral for Cooper held at the University Church of Christ
Harris has since pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and child cruelty. It was recently revealed that both he and his wife had done Google searches pertaining to children killed in hot cars prior to their son’s death. Leanna Harris has not been charged with any crimes in the boy’s June 18, death.
Justin Harris has already told police that he used the internet to research child deaths in vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for death to occur, police said.
‘Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen,’ a police affidavit released on Saturday said.
During a police search executed on Wednesday June 18 officers seized a laptop computer, a computer tower, a Google Chromecast and other electronic devices. Harris’ white AT&T IPhone 5, was also seized by cops.
This comes after it was alleged the Home Depot web developer also used his work computer to research how long it would take for a dog to die inside a hot car.
Car: The toddler was left in the hot car, pictured, for more than seven hours.