Opening statements begin in Ross Harris murder trial

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Prosecutors laid out their case against Ross Harris, the Georgia man charged with murder after his toddler son died in a hot SUV. 

Prosecutors say the Cobb County father who intentionally left his son in a hot SUV to die wanted to escape his role as husband and father.

During opening statements prosecutor Chuck Boring told jurors this case is about death, deception and the double life that Ross Harris was leading. 

Attorney Boring told the six women and six men from Glynn county that Harris communicated with 30 people while his son was dying in his SUV in the Home Depot tree house parking lot.

"Not only was he dealing with underage girls and teenage girls, but prostitutes," prosecutor Boring told the court.

The jury was seated Monday morning as the Ross Harris murder trial resumed in Brunswick. The silent selection process took about 37 minutes and was conducted by Judge Mary Staley Clark's clerk, Mr. Brian Phillips. The jury is made up of eight men and eight women, four of which are alternates.

Prior to opening statements Detective Ralph Escamillo of the Cobb County Police Department took the stand to describe the undercover sting operation that lead him to an escort who Harris had been contacting in May of 2014. The woman confirmed that she had met up with Harris multiple times that month. She continuously referred to Harris as being “fat and dumpy.” Despite the defense’s objections, Judge Mary Staley agreed that the escorts meeting with Escamillo will remain far game in the trial.

Harris, 35, of Cobb County, is charged with murder, accused of leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in a hot car to die back in June 2014.

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The case originally was supposed to go to trial in Cobb County in April of this year, but after three weeks of jury selection, the judge approved the defense's request to move the trial out of the county because of pretrial publicity, eventually settling on the coastal city of Brunswick.

Prosecutors believe Harris intentionally left his son to die at a time when Harris was unhappy in his marriage and looking for relationships with other women. Defense attorneys say the death was a tragic accident.

The defense will get its turn at opening statements Tuesday.