COBB COUNTY, Ga. - The Cobb County father convicted in the 2014 murder of his 22-month-old son in a hot car in Vinings has filed a motion for a new trial and has been granted a hearing date to argue for it. Because of the coronavirus, that motion will have to wait until December to be heard.
Justin Ross Harris, who goes by his middle name, was found guilty in December 2016 of murdering his son Cooper. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole plus 32 years to serve consecutively. Those additional years stem from counts of child cruelty and Harris’ inappropriate sexting relationship with an underage girl that came out during the investigation.
Ross Harris has been granted a hearing in his motion for a new trial for late 2020. (Cobb County Superior Court)
Cooper's lifeless body was found still in the rear-facing car seat in the back of Harris' SUV that was parked in the lot of his employer in Cobb County until the evening of June 18, 2014. The lot is less than a mile from the restaurant the father and son ate at just hours earlier. Investigators said Harris had visited his SUV to drop off a purchase midday. It wasn't until seven hours after he parked his SUV for work that he called for help.
The temperature that day reached into the high 80s.
Prosecutors painted Harris as living a double life. Through various app messages, Harris said he preferred sex with strangers, was cheating on his wife, was only married because of his son, and has a sex addiction. Investigators even discovered an exchange Harris had with an underage teen the same day Cooper was found dead.
Ross Harris (FOX 5)
The defense told jurors the police made their decision immediately on the scene and never considered this could have been an accident.
Because of the publicity of the case, the trial was moved from Cobb County to Glynn County.
A three-day hearing to rule on the motion has been set starting at 9 a.m. on Dec. 14.
This is the second such motion. In 2017, Harris' defense team said the pre-trial publicity about Harris' numerous affairs and sex addiction made it impossible for a fair trial.
Harris will be 40 when the hearing on the new motion takes place.