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A Georgian father was charged with murder for putting a baby in a hot car. The State Supreme Court overturned the ruling. Here's how we got here

By Amir Vera, CNN

(CNN)In 8 years It's been many years since the 22-month-old Cooper Harris died in a hot car.

Since then, the twists and turns of the incident surrounding Cooper's father, Justin Ross Harris, have left the infant in the car for seven hours and have attracted public attention.

According to investigators' testimony, Harris also sexted multiple women (some of whom were minors at the time) while his son was trapped in a car. It was revealed.

On June 22, the Georgia Supreme Courtstated evidence submitted by Harris's extramarital sexual prosecutor and convicted of murder6-3. I overturned it. Behind his decision to kill his son, he had an unfairly detrimental effect on the jury.

So how did this case end here?

Summer 2014: Infant dies and a blatant message emerges

On June 18, 2014, Harris puts Cooper in a rear-facing child seat. I tied it up and got off the car. Nearby Chick-fil-A family home.

Then, instead of dropping his son in day care, he worked at the Home Depot, a web designer. He parked and went inside, but Cooper remained tied to the car for the next seven hours.

Harris allegedly dropped in at the car early that afternoon and cleaned up the light bulbs he had purchased. But it wasn't until that afternoon when he was driving to a nearby cinema that Harris claimed to have noticed that his son was still in the car. He pulled the child's body from the SUV and pulled it into the parking lot of a shopping center. According to

records, mercury exceeded 92 degrees Celsius that day, and police said the temperature was 88 degrees Celsius when the boy was declared dead in a parking lot not far from his father's workplace. I am saying.

Harris never called 911, and according to prosecution leader Detective Philip Stoddard, he asked police officers to hang up on the scene. By the way, he said "f ** k you". Investigator.
After being arrested, Harris pleaded not guilty to murder and a second child atrocities. His accusations initially sparked a wave of sympathyand a lively debate about whether to punish a broken heart father. That is, until information about Harris's electronics reveals another aspect of his father.
Investigators confiscated a computer from his office and found thatsearched for information about "the death of a child in a car and the temperature required for it to occur". discovered. Search warrant from a police officer.

"Justin said he was afraid this might happen," the warrant read.

Investigators also sent a message to multiple women (some underage) while Harris was called by another name on a social media site and his son died in the car. I found that I was sending it. According to Stoddard, some of the messages were blatant and included nude images.

By September 2014, Harris had been charged by a grand jury with eight charges, including two, a malicious murder and a felony murder.

The other five accusations against Harris include one atrocities against children, two atrocities against children, attempted crimes attempting felony (sexual exploitation of minors), and And two counts of toxic diffusion. Minors.

Prosecutors decided not to seek the death penalty in 2015

Infant mothers demand privacy in the aftermath

At that time, Harris was married to Lina Harris. Two waters in May 2006.

She was not charged in connection with the death of her son.

Lina Harris said during the funeral of her toddler in Tuscaloosa, Alabama that summer,she wasn'tangry with her husband at the time. I did.

"Am I angry with Ross?" She said then. "Never. It never exceeded my heart. Ross is a great father if we have more children. Ross is a great dad and leader for our home. Cooper is for him. Meaning the world. "

In most cases, Harris stood by her husband for eight years. This caught the attention of the police in 2014.

According to policeHarris behaved strangelythe day before and after the death of her son.

For example, one detective testified that she asked her husband, "Did you overstate?" In a police interview room after he was arrested, she also told her son's day care employee that Cooper was not dropped that morning, she said, "Ross drives him. I must have left it in. " Police also said parents searched the internet for how hot the car had to be to kill the child.

Harris finally demanded privacy through her lawyer.

"She wants to allow reporters to mourn in private without calling, following, or seeing her home. Since his death, she has Not able to spend the mourning time required by parents of all bereaved families. Harris's lawyer, Lawrence Zimmerman,in a 2014 statement
Harris's bizarre In addition to the action, the fact thatshe took and passed the polygraph testin January 2015. Zimmerman did not provide the complete test questions and answers, but to the reporter. I chose a few.

The only questions Zimmerman asked were:

She answered "no" to these three questions and the result was her. Showed that there was no deception in the answer.

Zimmerman said the client was "concerned that the district attorney could try to level her charges against her."

Harris finally filed for a divorcefrom her husband in February 2016. She didn't give a specific reason for wanting to divorce her husband, she just said, "The marriage is irreparably broken."

The time to trial includes additional fees and venue changes

Justin Ross Harris's sexting discussion begins It was October 2015.

The prosecution said sexting-related accusations helped establish motives-Harris wasn't happy at home and wanted to be freed from his responsibilities for marriage and paternity. Harris's defense lawyer, H. Maddock Skillgore argued that the accusations that Harris sent sexually explicit material to minors had nothing to do with his claim that he had deliberately killed his son.

The judge rulednot to separate the murder and sexting sin trials.
In March 2016,Harris was again charged with. This time, there were a total of eight indictments related to messages with minors. He was charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of children and six counts of dissemination of toxic substances to minors.
Judge Mary Starry allowed the change of the trial venuebecause of the exposure of Harris' activities with minors and the death of his son created the media circus. rice field.

"(Harris) was responsible for effectively showing the possibility of prejudice due to the mass promotion, so he would not just file a proceeding in Cobb County." Mr Starry said.

A month later, the coastal town of Brunswick, Georgiawas chosen as the new location for the trial.

Fall 2016: Trial begins, infant mother becomes primary witness

Harris' trial begins in October 2016 and lasts almost five weeks It was done.

Attorneys claimed that Harris was responsible for the death of his son, but it was not true that he intentionally killed the boy in a sultry SUV.

"Responsibility is not the same as a detective," defense counsel H. Maddock Skill Gore"Evidence would show that Ross loved the little boy more than anything else. Cooper's death was an accident. It was always an accident, and it was he many times. I've told the police many times. "

The prosecutor claimed that evidence showed that Harris had the motive to kill his son. He and his wife had problems with intimacy, and his wife even told the stand that he had a hard time with pornography.

In addition, the family hadfinancial problemsinvestigators said Harris's wife "sporadic credit card purchases (of her husband)" I was complaining about the overcharge. " The couple also had $ 2,000 and $ 25,000 life insurance policies for their son, according to investigators.

Despite all the problems, Lina Harris (now Lina Taylor) served as an important witness to the defense. Taylor described Harris as a "very involved" parent who loved their son. In her mind, the only possible explanation behind the death of her son was that Harris "forgot" Cooper and accidentally left him in the car.

A Glynn County jury consisting of six men and six women deliberated for 21 hours in four days. The jury reviewed 70 witnesses and 1,150 pieces of evidence testimony. Harris finally in November 2016, three murders of Cooper's death and two atrocities against children, and an electronic lewd document with two underage girls. Convicted of three charges related to the exchange.
The following month,he was sentenced to life imprisonmentwithout parole. Judge Mary Staley Clark also sentenced Harris to 20 years for first-class atrocities against children and another 10 years for sexual exploitation of children.Harris also received one year each in two misdemeanor counts of the spread of toxic substances to minors in connection with his text.

Summer 2022: Georgia Supreme Court overturns murder conviction

The Georgia Supreme Court's June 2022 opinion is Harris's out-of-marriage To the jury who ruled that the evidence submitted by the sexual relations prosecutor had an unreasonable detrimental effect.

Evidence of Harris' intentions when leaving Cooper in the car said, "But the jury is likely to conclude that the appellant is such." A person who engages in other morally repulsive acts (such as painfully killing a child in a hot car) and deserves punishment.

The evidence presented to prove Harris' intent was "not overwhelming, so it is possible that misleading sexual evidence did not contribute to the jury's conviction." It's not expensive, "the court said.

The Cobb County District Attorney's Office will file a motion to reconsider the judgment in the court, the office said in a statement following its opinion.

Harris's other beliefs related to the text remain the same. He was sentenced to a total of 12 years in prison for those charges.