Cobb County prosecutors will not re-try Ross Harris in toddler son's hot car death
COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Prosecutors say they will not re-try a Cobb County father for the death of his young son after the state supreme court reversed his conviction.
In a news release Thursday, the Cobb County District Attorney's Office stated they would not retry Justin Ross Harris for the hot car death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.
Harris was convicted in 2016 of malice murder and first-degree child cruelty and sentenced to life without parole, as well as 32 more years in prison for other crimes. In 2022, the Georgia Supreme Court revered Harris' conviction in a 6-3 majority, ruling that the trial court "erroneously allowed the State to admit motive evidence relating to the defendant’s sexual crimes and activities."
WHO IS ROSS HARRIS? WHAT DOES HIS REVERSED CONVICTION MEAN?
"Crucial motive evidence that was admitted at the first trial in 2016 is no longer available to the State due to the majority decision of the Supreme Court," prosecutors stated in the release. "Therefore, after much thought and deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to not retry Justin Ross Harris on the reversed counts of the indictment."
Harris is currently serving a 12-year sentence on charges of criminal attempt to commit sexual exploitation of children and dissemination of harmful material to minors.
The hot car death of Cooper Harris
Harris, who moved from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to the Atlanta area for work in 2012, told police he forgot to drop his son off at day care on the morning of June 18, 2014, driving straight to his job as a web developer for Home Depot without remembering that Cooper was still in his car seat.
Cooper died after sitting for about seven hours in the back seat of the vehicle outside his father’s office in suburban Atlanta, where temperatures that day reached at least into the high 80s.
Prosecutors argued at trial that Harris was unhappily married and killed his son on purpose to free himself. Defense attorneys described him as a doting father and said the boy’s death was a tragic accident.
ROSS HARRIS SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR CHILD'S HOT CAR DEATH
Police officers who interacted with Harris after his son’s death didn’t think he acted the way a father should under the circumstances, and began investigating all aspects of his life, according to a defense brief filed with the high court.