04-07-2016, 09:51 AM #1
Podcast Discussion Thread
Breakdown - a podcast series from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Who would leave a child in a hot car on purpose? An accident or murder. You decide.
Link to the directory of episodes.
Direct link to Episode 1
In Episode 1, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Bill Rankin explores the evidence against Justin Ross Harris, and how it just seems to keep piling up. You’ll hear the incredible anguish of two parents who left their children to die in the car, just as Harris did. And you’ll learn more about Harris’s near obsession with sexting strange women, even as his child was dying.
Direct link to Episode 2
The state’s murder case against Harris is formidable. The lead police investigator has already testified at length in pretrial hearings: some key testimony seems utterly damning, but some seems totally wrong.
04-07-2016, 04:06 PM #2
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04-07-2016, 06:46 PM #3
04-08-2016, 08:29 AM #4Registered User
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This weekend I will take some time and recap each episode, and then we'll have more specific items to discuss!
04-10-2016, 09:41 PM #5
Well, I have followed this case from the beginning. When it first happened (avidly) and then just to check in for updates. When I was closer to it, I was convinced this was premeditated and he was guilty. However, now that I have stepped away a little and am coming back, I am not so certain. Additionally, after listening to the podcast (1 & 2), there is some reasonable doubt presented.
I still find him to be a despicable person and very negligent. Not sure about anything else though. Today at least.
04-11-2016, 11:29 AM #6
I'm not sure if today is jury selection (which I know will not be televised) or what the status is re: when opening arguments will begin. That's the reason I haven't opened a dedicated trial thread yet.
I have a couple of appointments today and won't be around until later. However, if televised coverage begins go ahead and use this thread until I'm able to sign back in. Or you can alert and if other mods aren't too busy, they will be happy to open one for you.
04-12-2016, 04:32 AM #7Registered User
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BR: Bill Rankin, the reporter and podcaster
JRH: Justin Ross Harris
LH: Leanna Harris
CH: Cooper Harris
Episode One: Death in a Hot Car: Mistake or Murder?
Bill Rankin begins the podcast by explaining that “malice murder” means JRH meant to lock Cooper in the car and intended for him to die.
Some background info is provided:
- JRH and LH moved to Cobb County from AL 2 years before
- JRH an IT specialist for Home Depot
- LH a dietitian who worked out of the home
On the morning of June 18, 2014:
- JRH was to take Cooper to daycare at Little Aprons Academy
- they stopped at Chik-Fil-A for breakfast as they did 2-3 times a month
- they left the restaurant at 9:19 am
JRH told police he kissed Cooper as he strapped him in, because he always kissed him when he put him in the car because if he ever got into a car accident and died, he wanted Cooper’s last memory of him to be that “daddy loved him”.
BR recreates the drive – sets timer and leaves CFA. He drove the route 4 times. Says there’s a lot of traffic. It took him anywhere from 1 min 15 seconds to 1 min 52 seconds to reach the intersection where JRH should have turned left to go to Little Aprons.
If JRH is telling the truth, it took him less than 2 minutes to forget his son was in the car.
He arrived at work at 9:25 am; left work at 4:15 pm headed to see a movie with his friends. He drove about 2 miles, then looked to his right while making a lane change and realized Cooper was in the car seat behind him. He then turned into a shopping center and jumped out.
Leonard Madden was one of the first people to notice JRH. He went to see what was happening. Testimony: he wasn’t able to tell what was happening; thought Cooper was a doll; he could hear JRH’s “cries of desperation” for his son to be alive, saying “OMG, OMG, my son is dead.” Madden believed JRH was anguished.
BR plays a 911 call from Wade Naramore, an Arkansas judge, who left his 18 month old son, Thomas, in the car on July 24, 2015. It sounds as though he’s trying hard to keep his composure at the beginning of the call but begins to wail and sob as he tells the 911 operator “I think he’s dead.” http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog...ith-sons-death
BR asked many people in metro Atlanta if they could ever forget their child in the car. Essentially everyone said “no way”. A clips is played of Janette Fennell, founder of www.kidsandcars.org, saying the biggest mistake anyone can make is thinking it can’t happen to them. She reports it happens, on average, 37 times a year – which works out to be one child every 9 to 10 days. She says the number one commonality in hot car deaths is a change in routine. She feels that 90% of the cases happen to people who are otherwise very good parents.
In a sampling of 385 cases, 39% of the time there were no charges, and 9% of people that were charged were acquitted. The story of Brenda Slaby, an assistant principal of a middle school in Ohio who left her 2 year old daughter in the car, is told. She was on her way to work and found it was too early to drop off Cecelia. She decided to go get the doughnuts she was planning to bring to school that day. She got them and headed straight to her school, forgetting that Cecelia was still in the car. No charges were filed in this case. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=3570651
JRH is not the first in GA to be charged. Jonesboro. 2011. 2 year old Jazmin Green died after being left inside a daycare van for more than 2 hours after returning from a field trip. Two people were charged with felony murder in that case; both were acquitted but convicted of other charges related to the case. See this article for more info: http://legacy.11alive.com/story/news...death/7838383/
JRH is charged with malice murder AND felony murder. Malice murder is when the killer intends to kill. Felony murder is when someone dies during the commission of a crime. The underlying felony is cruelty to children in the 2nd degree.
Discussion of preliminary hearing: Detective Phil Stoddard testimony. “He was having up to 6 different conversations with different women”, “sexting” “photos of his exposed, erect (bleep), and also photos of women’s (bleep)”.
Testimony at another hearing revealed that In the 7 months before Cooper’s death, he sent 5000 “Whisper” messages and 40,000 texts. (Whisper is a social networking app.) The prosecutor says it’s important to show how extensive these things were; how important these things were to him as compared to (how important) his family (was).
“It proves motive because he was unhappy in his marriage…we plan to show he wanted to live a child free life.” JRH was a frequent visitor to reddit.com. He went to a forum about “child free living”.(Note: it is unclear in the podcast if the 40,000 messages included regular messages to friends & family.)
JRH was having a "Whisper" conversation with an anonymous woman even during breakfast with Cooper at CFA that morning. He replied to a post that read “I hate being married with kids. The novelty has worn off, and I have nothing to show for it.” and “I have nothing, every ounce of me is being a perfect unappreciated wife with two little ones that drain out the rest of me. I don’t resent my kids, I resent him.”
JRH’s reply at 9:14 am “My wife gets upset when I want to go out with friends. I love my son and all, but we both need escape.”
Her reply: “Maybe that’s our issue too, I need a break from ‘love’.”
JRH at 9:24 am: “Agreed, we both need that.” 9:24 was two minutes before he walked to his office, leaving Cooper stranded in the car.
JRH told investigators:
- one of his worst fears is that he would leave Cooper in the car
- 5 days before Cooper died, JRH had watched a video of a vet demonstrating the danger of leaving animals in hot cars; the vet emphasized how horrible it would be to be trapped in the car
- 3 weeks earlier he had watched a public service program called “Look Again” to remind parents/caregiversnot to leave children in the car by mistake. JRH said he practiced it often.
When Detective Stoddard informed JRH of the charges against him, JRH argued the cruelty charge and said it was an accident. When Det. Stoddard informed him of the felony murder charge, JRH replied “but there was no malicious intent.”
In a February hearing:, testimony was presented that JRH was seen by co-workers bringing a guitar in to work about a week before Cooper died, because he didn’t want the guitar to be damaged by the heat.
BR asks what we’re all wondering: How will the state prove that Harris meant to kill his child? How will the defense deal with the body blows the prosecution has in store? Defense Attorney Jimmy Berry, not connected to the case, is quoted saying “It’s going to be very difficult to get a juror to like him, just because of circumstance, because of what he was doing while his child died in a hot car.”
So far, JRH’s defense attorney Maddox Kilgore has only given public comments once. He pointed out the State’s changing version of JRH’s “motive”, saying first they said there was a financial motive, then it changed to the desire to be child free. The state implied JRH and LH had planned it together, then backed off of that implication. Kilgore points out the state is accusing JRH simultaneously of killing him intentionally and of killing him by gross negligence with the specific charges lodged against him.
**End of Recap**
Last edited by MzOpinion8d; 04-12-2016 at 05:02 AM. Reason: formatting
04-12-2016, 08:59 AM #8
Many thanks for the recap MzOpinion8d. I think a new episode-3 is coming out today.
04-12-2016, 09:08 AM #9Registered User
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