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The Killing Season - Websleuths

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View Poll Results: On the charge of Murder?

Voters
106. You may not vote on this poll
  • Guilty Beyond Reasonable Doubt

    85 80.19%
  • Guilty, but would acquit w/o more evidence

    16 15.09%
  • Acquit, But Probably Intentional

    2 1.89%
  • Acquit, Probably an accident

    3 2.83%

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  1. #1
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    Sunday Evening Jury, On the Charge of Murder You Find:

    I believe the detective when he said they had only scratched the surface of their research. There is much more evidence to come. Likewise, the defense team is just getting going.

    Nevertheless, it seems the opinions are now strong just from what we’ve heard at the probable cause hearing and the limited media reports.

    Based on what you know now, do you believe RH murdered his son Cooper?

    Where do you stand and why?

  2. #2
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    Thinking about intent, it seems to me it breaks into three categories: the evidence of intent, the evidence that the alternative of negligence is unreasonable, and motive that would drive intent.

    On intent, there are the web searches on living beings being killed in the same manner Cooper died, the apparent lack of any guilt, and misleading authorities on his actions on the day Cooper died. He warned his friends he’d be late to the movies yet he left work early enough to be at the theater well before the movie. There is no smoking gun though.

    On the alternative, the idea of negligence in this case seems highly remote. The child was awake and alert (and therefore likely hard to forget) shortly before he was left alone in the vehicle. At work, RH looked back in the car to back into a space and so stared straight at the car seat. RH spent half a minute in the car after parking and reached past the car seat to get something. He entered the car at lunch and looked in it. In the afternoon, He drove a distance before “realizing” Cooper was in the care and pulling over, despite the dead child being inches away and likely emitting a powerful odor detected by others well after the child was removed from the vehicle. He warned his friends he’d be late to the movies yet he left work early enough to be at the theater well before the movie.

    On motive, it is vague, but it seems like this will really develop. The bombshells on the hidden life RH led, including his repulsive behavior on the day his son died, indicate RH is a serial liar who was not in any way committed to the life he professed to lead. His son could have been an encumbrance to the path he wanted for himself. But the link isn’t there yet. It seems to me they need evidence of financial distress, a pending divorce, or some indication that RH would be better able to pursue his true hidden passions with Cooper gone to really make the most of this. So far, RH had been able to sext many women with Cooper in the picture; why did he need him gone? It seems LH would have been the bigger obstacle if it was about the other women. Remains to be seen, IMO.

    For me, there still needs to be more evidence, or certainly more thinking, though I’m convinced he did it intentionally. Obviously, the probable cause hearing was not the place the prosecution (who has not had time to really build the case yet) could be expected to really lay out the case, but man they were compelling. I could see people being over the guilty line already based on that performance and RH indifference to anything but what affects him.

  3. #3
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    Most excellent post gritguy! Like the detective said "we've only scratched the surface". I'm looking forward to reading the additional warrants that are said to come out tomorrow.

    I am convinced Harris did this intentionally. You can't tell me didn't hear or see Cooper in the 30 seconds he spent in the car before exciting to go to work. It would only take about 5 seconds to grab his work bag (which was to his right on the passenger side).

    Yup - I'd bet my last dollar that Harris knew Cooper was there and left him to bake.



    MOO

    Mel

  4. #4
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    He brings his child to daycare everyday.

    Yup. He forgot. NOT!

  5. #5
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    As of this moment, I would acquit, because I have not heard enough evidence to meet the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict JRH on an intentional murder charge. Yes, I have questions about some of his odd behavior, but these questions do not add up to solid, unshakeable proof that JRH intentionally killed Cooper. But we'll see how I feel after more evidence comes forward.

    Believing someone is guilty of murder and stating your opinion on a forum is one thing, and is perfectly legitimate. Serving as a a juror and finding someone guilty of murder based on evidence and the law is another thing.

    Some things I'd like to know: Did JRH complain to anyone (in person or online) about having a child, or express any frustrations about raising his son? Did he talk about leaving his wife? Are there witnesses who will say he was a neglectful or uninterested father, or only witnesses that will report he was a loving, attentive father? Is there any evidence Cooper was abused? Was Cooper involved in any other "accidents"? Had either JRH or his wife recently checked on Cooper's insurance policy?

    In addition to my skepticism that a tech-savvy web developer would send incriminating texts while his son was dying in his car, I think that there are much more foolproof ways to kill a small child and make it look like an accident. Leaving a child in your car in an employee parking lot would carry a lot of risk that someone would see or hear the child, or that he would survive but be permanently disabled. Granted, neither of these arguments proves he's innocent - he could be a stupid, impulsive or arrogant criminal. But in our judicial system, you do not need to prove your innocence - a jury needs to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or find you not guilty.

    I am curious as to why LE charged JRH that very evening -- the swiftness is unusual. Either they have much more evidence than we know, or maybe they rushed to judgment. Time will tell!

    In any case, I enjoy the civil debate here, even if it is one-sided. Strangely enough, you usually find me on the guilty side of the fence. Are there any others, like me, who think it is possible that this was an accident?
    Last edited by la_cavalière; 07-06-2014 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Rearranging

  6. #6
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    The most compelling aspect of this to me is that the notion of negligence seems absurd. With his known movements, it just doesn't seem he could miss Cooper, particularly with the noontime visit to the car and the loitering period when he first got to work before he left the vehicle.

    La-Cavaliere: those are good points. Really good points. It's too early to draw a final conclusion but I thought I'd put the question out there to put people on the spot on how they feel now, knowing of course that could change. I think your position is totally valid. Legally, I'd probably still at this point agree (I'd really want to see the parking lot video!) with you. But, I do not believe it was an accident, not because intent at this point has been proven, or even a clearly linked motive, but rather the notion of the possibility of this being an accident under these circumstances is not believable to me.

  7. #7
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    I'd also like to say to La_Cavaliere that if RH had had you as attorney making those arguments during the probable cause hearing perhaps he would have at least gotten bail!

    Those are really good thoughts that hadn't occurred to me because mentally I've been chasing the motive angle re: the sexting but not closing the gap. It pays to look at every angle. Not every question will get an answer on either side of the debate but good questions deserve to be raised and thought through. Once the defense gathers their thoughts they will surely come back to the points you raised.

    The sheer absurdity of all the sexting on the day you kill your son and agitating the police by cursing at them does seem highly reckless if the killing was intentional. You'd think he'd have moved his efforts to a different mobile device or taken a few days off and cleaned up his phone if he were executing a master plan. My "he's guilty" mind says he was well used to getting away with deception and never expected to be arrested for something that to him would obviously appear to be an accident.

    The idea that it was a risky way to murder the child is an interesting one too. I had wondered and still wonder how he parked. The possibility of a passerby seeing or hearing Cooper seems to be there, but I'd want to see the parking lot video.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by la_cavalière View Post
    Are there any others, like me, who think it is possible that this was an accident?
    Me

    Quote Originally Posted by la_cavaliere
    I think that there are much more foolproof ways to kill a small child and make it look like an accident.
    Yes, that is what I am hung up on as well. For a planned murder, this guy did some stupid things. I guess it's possible that he and his wife aren't saavy about how police catch criminals. Me, I'm an addicted watcher of Investigation Discovery and it continues to amaze me what dumb things people do. On the other hand, I see lots of situations where it seems like a slam dunk that a certain person did the crime, and it turns out not to be the case.

    I guess to be honest, I don't want to believe someone could be so callous to kill their child this way and then go about their business doing his sextexting, etc. And then, all the other tidbits of information we get add up to him (and probably wife too) being so guilty.

    In any case, this poll is about how we would vote now, if on the jury. I voted for choice #2.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by la_cavalière View Post
    As of this moment, I would acquit, because I have not heard enough evidence to meet the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict JRH on an intentional murder charge. Yes, I have questions about some of his odd behavior, but these questions do not add up to solid, unshakeable proof that JRH intentionally killed Cooper. But we'll see how I feel after more evidence comes forward.

    Believing someone is guilty of murder and stating your opinion on a forum is one thing, and is perfectly legitimate. Serving as a a juror and finding someone guilty of murder based on evidence and the law is another thing.

    Some things I'd like to know: Did JRH complain to anyone (in person or online) about having a child, or express any frustrations about raising his son? Did he talk about leaving his wife? Are there witnesses who will say he was a neglectful or uninterested father, or only witnesses that will report he was a loving, attentive father? Is there any evidence Cooper was abused? Was Cooper involved in any other "accidents"? Had either JRH or his wife recently checked on Cooper's insurance policy?

    In addition to my skepticism that a tech-savvy web developer would send incriminating texts while his son was dying in his car, I think that there are much more foolproof ways to kill a small child and make it look like an accident. Leaving a child in your car in an employee parking lot would carry a lot of risk that someone would see or hear the child, or that he would survive but be permanently disabled. Granted, neither of these arguments proves he's innocent - he could be a stupid, impulsive or arrogant criminal. But in our judicial system, you do not need to prove your innocence - a jury needs to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or find you not guilty.

    I am curious as to why LE charged JRH that very evening -- the swiftness is unusual. Either they have much more evidence than we know, or maybe they rushed to judgment. Time will tell!

    In any case, I enjoy the civil debate here, even if it is one-sided. Strangely enough, you usually find me on the guilty side of the fence. Are there any others, like me, who think it is possible that this was an accident?
    Possible? Well, it's possible the sun could rise in the West tomorrow but given the laws of physics as we know them it's not very [i]probable[\i]. Similarly, the law is not concerned with endless possibilities rather with reasonable probabilities and it's highly improbable to me that a person who went to the trouble of googling about hot car deaths less than a week before his child died in a hot car wouldn't have taken precautions against such an eventuality. It's also highly improbable to me that a parent who had just strapped his child into a car seat 30 seconds earlier would forget said child was there before reaching the correct turn point to daycare and instead continue on to work.

  10. #10
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    Eta I voted for guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by NancyA View Post
    Possible? Well, it's possible the sun could rise in the West tomorrow but given the laws of physics as we know them it's not very [i]probable[\i]. Similarly, the law is not concerned with endless possibilities rather with reasonable probabilities and it's highly improbable to me that a person who went to the trouble of googling about hot car deaths less than a week before his child died in a hot car wouldn't have taken precautions against such an eventuality. It's also highly improbable to me that a parent who had just strapped his child into a car seat 30 seconds earlier would forget said child was there before reaching the correct turn point to daycare and instead continue on to work.
    There's the issue for me. The idea of an accident needs to be less remote. One way to try to do that would be to show that RH was super distracted, as people these days often are, with activity on his phone. That'd be a fine line (possibly sexting as a defense??), and you'd still have to believe Cooper was asleep a minute or two later when they parked since RH sat in the car with him for 30 seconds doing something, and you'd have to believe he didn't see him backing up, or at lunch. Ah forget it, I can't get there myself! They'd also have to show you likely wouldn't see Cooper in the back during his slumber, to counter the prosecution contention that the child would have been in plain view any time you looked right or rearward.

    I'll be surprised if over time the prosecution doesn't nail this one down even tighter.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gritguy View Post
    There's the issue for me. The idea of an accident needs to be less remote. One way to try to do that would be to show that RH was super distracted, as people these days often are, with activity on his phone. That'd be a fine line (possibly sexting as a defense??), and you'd still have to believe Cooper was asleep a minute or two later when they parked since RH sat in the car with him for 30 seconds doing something, and you'd have to believe he didn't see him backing up, or at lunch. Ah forget it, I can't get there myself! They'd also have to show you likely wouldn't see Cooper in the back during his slumber, to counter the prosecution contention that the child would have been in plain view any time you looked right or rearward.

    I'll be surprised if over time the prosecution doesn't nail this one down even tighter.
    Yes and I foresee the DA using visual aids such as a mock up of the vehicle complete with car seat and model of a child Cooper's size and age - I think that would make for a very compelling image for a jury.

  13. #13
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    Guilty beyond reasonable doubt!!! He had this planned IMO... He didn't forget to take Cooper to day care, he wanted him to die in that hot car and he succeeded.


    This post is my opinion only, and is subject to making me look totally confused

  14. #14
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    I'd have to acquit him at this moment simply because the key evidence I can think of so far is circumstantial, ambiguous and/or potentially explainable at this point. For example, the six minute call to the day care could seal it one way or the other. So could his full text/phone/kik/im records plus hers. I guess all I'm saying is I wouldn't sentence him to death prior to his trial

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by la_cavalière View Post
    As of this moment, I would acquit, because I have not heard enough evidence to meet the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to convict JRH on an intentional murder charge. Yes, I have questions about some of his odd behavior, but these questions do not add up to solid, unshakeable proof that JRH intentionally killed Cooper. But we'll see how I feel after more evidence comes forward.

    Believing someone is guilty of murder and stating your opinion on a forum is one thing, and is perfectly legitimate. Serving as a a juror and finding someone guilty of murder based on evidence and the law is another thing.

    Some things I'd like to know: Did JRH complain to anyone (in person or online) about having a child, or express any frustrations about raising his son? Did he talk about leaving his wife? Are there witnesses who will say he was a neglectful or uninterested father, or only witnesses that will report he was a loving, attentive father? Is there any evidence Cooper was abused? Was Cooper involved in any other "accidents"? Had either JRH or his wife recently checked on Cooper's insurance policy?

    In addition to my skepticism that a tech-savvy web developer would send incriminating texts while his son was dying in his car, I think that there are much more foolproof ways to kill a small child and make it look like an accident. Leaving a child in your car in an employee parking lot would carry a lot of risk that someone would see or hear the child, or that he would survive but be permanently disabled. Granted, neither of these arguments proves he's innocent - he could be a stupid, impulsive or arrogant criminal. But in our judicial system, you do not need to prove your innocence - a jury needs to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or find you not guilty.

    I am curious as to why LE charged JRH that very evening -- the swiftness is unusual. Either they have much more evidence than we know, or maybe they rushed to judgment. Time will tell!

    In any case, I enjoy the civil debate here, even if it is one-sided. Strangely enough, you usually find me on the guilty side of the fence. Are there any others, like me, who think it is possible that this was an accident?
    I still think it's possible that I could be convinced that he's innocent. Not going to get into the reasons here, since I don't think we're supposed to have that discussion in the poll thread. I hope the discussion continues to be civil and I'll always take the other side of an issue if I think it's the correct side -- that goes for this case, as well.

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