CONVICTION OVERTURNED GA - Ross Harris Trial Appeal, hot car death of son, Cooper

HarmonyE.

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Toddler who died in dad's hot SUV 'had been switched out of his new forward-facing car seat and put in old rear-facing one even though it was too small'​

  • Justin Ross Harris is accused of leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper to die in a scorching hot SUV on June 18
  • The toddler was in a rear-facing seat rather than a forward-facing one, which would have made it easier for Harris to see his son
  • Wife Leanna hasn't been charged but there are growing suspicions over her odd behavior in the wake of her son's death
  • Police previously disclosed that the parents had researched children dying in hot cars online

Much of this is old and now known to be false. Seems the police weren't above planting a little BS in the early days of the investigation, before the trial.

Leanna explained at trial why Cooper was using the rear-facing seat on the day of the incident and why she decided to keep using it along with the front-facing one that was in her car at the time because of a recent long road trip. Bottom line, in her opinion she thought Cooper was still small enough to use it, although she knew it would have to be replaced soon.

There was never any credible evidence that Leanna plotted murder with Harris. She was never charged, and it seems wildly improbable to me that two parents with no history of child abuse would just up and plan a torture murder of their toddler. One, perhaps. Two? Nah.

Neither parent "researched" hot car deaths. Harris watched something that came up on a YouTube feed about not leaving dogs in cars in the summer for any length of time. He didn't search for it. Leanna explained at trial that she there was a local media campaign about looking in the backseat before you walk away (this was confirmed) and she worried about Ross forgetting Cooper because she found him at times to be very absent-minded.

In other words, fake news.
 

neesaki

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i agree that the 4 blown up size photo's of his erect p***S did not need to be shown to the jury, im sure most know what that looks like without being shown. The sexting WAS a major factor in the decision RH made by turning right. In my opinion he didnt forget to take copper to day care he CHOSE to turn right and leave cooper in the car. I cannot find the bit im thinking of in the trial, that shown he had actually read an article about hot car deaths and how dangerous it was. If he was already concerned or aware about that happening, to me that would make me extra vigilant about my child in the car.
I seem to remember also the car seat used that day was normally not used but its so much to read through to find it.
found it lol..

Toddler who died in dad's hot SUV 'had been switched out of his new forward-facing car seat and put in old rear-facing one even though it was too small'​

  • Justin Ross Harris is accused of leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper to die in a scorching hot SUV on June 18
  • The toddler was in a rear-facing seat rather than a forward-facing one, which would have made it easier for Harris to see his son
  • Wife Leanna hasn't been charged but there are growing suspicions over her odd behavior in the wake of her son's death
  • Police previously disclosed that the parents had researched children dying in hot cars online
Whether he was in the front facing or the rear facing, I barely look over my shoulder, I mean barely, and out of the corner of my eye I see anything that’s there if it’s standing up in the back seat. And I’m only 5’3”, and, my car is a larger crossover type suv than RH was driving.
And, he was feeding the baby breakfast minutes beforehand.

He did not forget him, I don’t care what he was doing….. Unless he has serious cognitive deficits. A little late to claim that.

The guy is guilty of murder, no matter what kind of evidence was let into the trial they are now claiming should not have been allowed. Let them convict him again.
 

DaisyKenny

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I disagree with several things. First, if he actually forgot Cooper - which knowing about other hot car cases I think is quite possible - the sexting obsession may have played a big role in that forgetfulness that morning.

Secondly, while I agree he was an immature and selfish man who liked the idea of freedom and lots of women (like countless husbands before and after him), I don't see an automatic leap from this to torturing his baby to death, a baby who by all accounts he seemed to enjoy very much. Someone can resent his loss of single freedoms but still love his kids. The two are not mutually exclusive.

And mostly I disagree with posters who "know" what Harris's intentions were that morning. There is no way for me or you or anyone else to know what he intended. It's a difficult thing to prove in this sort of situation. Which, IMO, is precisely why the prosecution poisoned the well by overdoing the sexual history material - the endless female witnesses and blown up di*k pix - thereby prejudicing the jury against him. Some texts were clearly needed to establish what was going on, especially that day, but most of it was to make Harris look as bad as possible to the jury.

Maybe he did intend to kill Cooper. I don't know. God knows he behaved strangely at the scene and during the police interview. But I do suspect the reason the prosecution did what they did was to ensure a malice murder charge would stick. If he's tried again - and I hope he is - I suspect they will go for lesser charges this time. Because I don't think they have enough evidence to prove intent without prejudicing a jury.
The GSC strongly implied that the cheating evidence would have all been admissible if RH had killed his wife, intentionally or otherwise. By the same logic, evidence that he wanted to be single again should be admissible in the case where he killed his child since being a divorced dad is not the same as being single.

RH was not just a typical guy looking for extra sex on the side, he was an addict whose life was dominated by it. The definitely speaks to motive and mindset.
 

Trebor5591

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I agree on the work parking lot pictures, it's not clear if he had to back up or not when he left. But at Chick fil A, he would have needed to back up unless he always backed into parking spots, which the work video doesn't show. People who back into spots always do so.

Here is a picture of the CFA parking lot he ate at on 2485 Cumberland Pkwy SE, Atlanta, GA 30339:

I usually back into parking spaces, but I don't ALWAYS do so. If there is little traffic, I back into a spot. If there is traffic, I will pull into a spot so as to avoid making other cars wait for me to back in.
 

DaisyKenny

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...
There was never any credible evidence that Leanna plotted murder with Harris. She was never charged, and it seems wildly improbable to me that two parents with no history of child abuse would just up and plan a torture murder of their toddler. One, perhaps. Two? Nah.

Neither parent "researched" hot car deaths. Harris watched something that came up on a YouTube feed about not leaving dogs in cars in the summer for any length of time. He didn't search for it. Leanna explained at trial that she there was a local media campaign about looking in the backseat before you walk away (this was confirmed) and she worried about Ross forgetting Cooper because she found him at times to be very absent-minded.

In other words, fake news.
Of course Leanna didn't plot to murder Cooper. She loved being married and having a kid. It was RH who didn't and told several of his sexting partners so. IMO, LH immediately suspected RH was guilty, asking him if he said too much to LE and asking him if he really wanted to be a father.

As for RH being absent-minded, he sure seemed to remember every minute detail of that day except for how he left Cooper to die. It doesn't explain why he lied to LE about key details like how often he drove him to day care and about visiting the car at lunch.
 
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ChatteringBirds

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doesn't explain why he lied to LE about key details like how often he drove him to day care and about visiting the car at lunch.

I wouldn't mind reading an account of what he said to LE if you have a link. He lied about visiting his car at lunch?
 

DaisyKenny

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I wouldn't mind reading an account of what he said to LE if you have a link. He lied about visiting his car at lunch?
Sorry I can't find a transcript but in the video at the 29:45 mark he is asked who normally took Cooper to daycare. He answered truthfully at first when he said he took him the most of the time but then kept changing his story until it wasn't even the the majority of the time and how he really had no idea who normally took him. He even felt the need to tell Leanna how he told them it was 'up in the air' who took Cooper to daycare. He actually took Cooper around 80 percent of the time.

He lied by omission about visiting the car at lunch, along with his sexting activities. It's like he thought LE wasn't even going to check out his story.

 

HarmonyE.

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As for RH being absent-minded, he sure seemed to remember every minute detail of that day except for how he left Cooper to die. It doesn't explain why he lied to LE about key details like how often he drove him to day care and about visiting the car at lunch.

It's a bit of hyperbole to say Harris was asked to account for every minute of that day, although its true he did not add that he dropped the light bulbs into the front seat after lunch. And he did explain how he left Cooper to die; he just claimed it was not intentional.

He'd just been handcuffed and hauled into the police station, so he knew he was possibly/likely suspected of a crime, and because of this he may not have wanted to reveal too much. But he surely knew there were cameras in the parking lots. The screens were probably visible at the security station.

I think the return to the vehicle potentially cuts both way, but mostly towards his version of what happened. Even the state's expert who reviewed the video at trial had to conclude he never stuck his head past the frame of the vehicle and given his height, would not have been able to see the car seat, so if he'd murdered Cooper, what was the point of returning without actually checking whether Cooper was dead yet? As an aside, the police actually went to the Harris's apartment and concluded they were indeed short of lightbulbs.
 

DaisyKenny

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It's a bit of hyperbole to say Harris was asked to account for every minute of that day, although its true he did not add that he dropped the light bulbs into the front seat after lunch. And he did explain how he left Cooper to die; he just claimed it was not intentional.

He'd just been handcuffed and hauled into the police station, so he knew he was possibly/likely suspected of a crime, and because of this he may not have wanted to reveal too much. But he surely knew there were cameras in the parking lots. The screens were probably visible at the security station.

I think the return to the vehicle potentially cuts both way, but mostly towards his version of what happened. Even the state's expert who reviewed the video at trial had to conclude he never stuck his head past the frame of the vehicle and given his height, would not have been able to see the car seat, so if he'd murdered Cooper, what was the point of returning without actually checking whether Cooper was dead yet? As an aside, the police actually went to the Harris's apartment and concluded they were indeed short of lightbulbs.
RH seemed to have a very good memory of the day's events, including everything that happened inside the restaurant, as well as describing in vivid detail the hot car video he watched four days earlier. The only things he seemed 'hazy' on were the areas where he was intentionally lying or obscuring the truth or leaving out details on purpose to avoid looking bad.

The reason RH was charged and convicted was because his behavior was not typical of what people would expect in that situation, including the selective memory failures. IMO
 

LinasK

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It's a bit of hyperbole to say Harris was asked to account for every minute of that day, although its true he did not add that he dropped the light bulbs into the front seat after lunch. And he did explain how he left Cooper to die; he just claimed it was not intentional.

He'd just been handcuffed and hauled into the police station, so he knew he was possibly/likely suspected of a crime, and because of this he may not have wanted to reveal too much. But he surely knew there were cameras in the parking lots. The screens were probably visible at the security station.

I think the return to the vehicle potentially cuts both way, but mostly towards his version of what happened. Even the state's expert who reviewed the video at trial had to conclude he never stuck his head past the frame of the vehicle and given his height, would not have been able to see the car seat, so if he'd murdered Cooper, what was the point of returning without actually checking whether Cooper was dead yet? As an aside, the police actually went to the Harris's apartment and concluded they were indeed short of lightbulbs.
Them actually needing lightbulbs is irrelevant. He could have chosen to purchase anything there- or not buy anything at all. It was an excuse to check to see if Cooper was dead yet and that no one had discovered him. And many stupid criminals don't think about security cameras. So many of the true crime shows I see- they are always caught on surveillance video buying their crime supplies at Walmart- shovels, bleach, burner phones, plastic bins, duct tape, etc...
 
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HarmonyE.

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Them actually needing lightbulbs is irrelevant. He could have chosen to purchase anything there. It was an excuse to check to see if Cooper was dead yet and that no one had discovered him.

If that's the case, why didn't he at least glance inside toward the back of the vehicle? The state's expert who reviewed the video confirmed his head never went lower than the frame so he wouldn't have been able to see the car seat.

If someone had already discovered Cooper, I'm sure he'd have been immediately notified by HD Security and the police. Just seeing the car sitting there with no LE around would have confirmed for him that Cooper was still inside.
 

LinasK

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If that's the case, why didn't he at least glance inside toward the back of the vehicle? The state's expert who reviewed the video confirmed his head never went lower than the frame so he wouldn't have been able to see the car seat.

If someone had already discovered Cooper, I'm sure he'd have been immediately notified by HD Security and the police. Just seeing the car sitting there with no LE around would have confirmed for him that Cooper was still inside.
Probably because he didn't want to see how gruesome it would be.
 

HarmonyE.

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Probably because he didn't want to see how gruesome it would be.
Okay, so he went to the car to look but he didn't look because he didn't want to see?

If the video confirmed he so much as glanced inside that car, it would have been a smoking gun. But it doesn't, so it really doesn't prove anything either way.
 

katydid23

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If that's the case, why didn't he at least glance inside toward the back of the vehicle? The state's expert who reviewed the video confirmed his head never went lower than the frame so he wouldn't have been able to see the car seat.

If someone had already discovered Cooper, I'm sure he'd have been immediately notified by HD Security and the police. Just seeing the car sitting there with no LE around would have confirmed for him that Cooper was still inside.
When he climbed into his car, after eight hours, and was enclosed in the hot car, with a dead child, who had a wet and dirty diaper on and had been sweating for hours---how did he not smell anything?

The body was INCHES away from him at the time. And he drove several miles, I think for longer that 10 minutes if not more, before he finally pulled over.

I do not believe he wouldn't have smelled the dirty diaper and urine smell, immediately upon getting into the hot, closed up car.
 

katydid23

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Okay, so he went to the car to look but he didn't look because he didn't want to see?

If the video confirmed he so much as glanced inside that car, it would have been a smoking gun. But it doesn't, so it really doesn't prove anything either way.
I don't think it was that cut and dry. It is not a close up video---it is hard to tell how much he could see.

If he did know there was a dead child, he would be doing everything NOT to be seen on camera looking at the car seat. But by opening the car door he could listen, and if there was no crying or moaning, he could assume it was over.
 

HarmonyE.

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I don't think it was that cut and dry. It is not a close up video---it is hard to tell how much he could see.

If he did know there was a dead child, he would be doing everything NOT to be seen on camera looking at the car seat. But by opening the car door he could listen, and if there was no crying or moaning, he could assume it was over.
Disagree. You can see his head never gets low enough to look inside towards Cooper. I suggest watching that part of the trial.

If Cooper was still alive, he was almost certainly unconscious. And it was like a millisecond.

If the prosecution could have used this footage to prove Ross could have seen Cooper or checked his status, they would not have needed to pile on all of the prejudicial stuff that resulted in the overturning of the malice murder conviction.
 

DaisyKenny

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From the GSC decision:
Majority:
Appellant’s successful engagement in many long-running online relationships suggested that he was not actually hampered by Cooper’s existence such that he needed to divorce Leanna, much less murder Cooper, to fulfill his desires.
Minority:
The State explicitly sought to paint him as a discontent sex-addict who felt tied down by the burdens and restrictions of career and family. Using Harris’s own words from messages exchanged with various women, the State theorized that Harris sought to “escape” those self-imposed prisons and move on to another life filled with exciting sexual encounters and other new adventures.

Does this appear like a husband and father who was unhampered in indulging his addiction?:
Harris tells one he is addicted to sex. He tells another he "hates being married sometimes, too." He tells another he misses being single. He tells another that "my wife should divorce me." He tells another "sometimes I want to be unmarried." He tells another, on May 19, 2014, "Wish I was single." That was a month before Cooper's death. He tells another, on May 23, "I settled down. Kinda regret it." He tells another on May 28, "I'm a bit miserable, too . . . No sex (in my relationship). You?" He tells another, on March 14, "I'm tired of living with my wife sometimes, lol." He tells another in January 2014, "I miss being single. ... I just want to (expletive) a lot of girls, drink a lot and have fun." He tells another in February, "You don't need a baby. It's not easy, and expensive. . . . I love my son, but that joker drains my paycheck." He tells another, in February 2014, "I have sex with strangers to block out a lot of my pain. ... I like it with strangers." He tells another "I have a sex addiction I've acted on. I kind of regret that."
 

DaisyKenny

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How does killing Cooper make RH single?
Being a divorced dad isn't the same as being single. He responded to the message "I hate being married with kids..." the morning he left Cooper to die. With Cooper out of his way, he thought he could get divorced and be single again and indulge his addiction. In fact, he said multiple times that Cooper was the only reason he was still married.
 

HarmonyE.

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Being a divorced dad isn't the same as being single. He responded to the message "I hate being married with kids..." the morning he left Cooper to die. With Cooper out of his way, he thought he could get divorced and be single again and indulge his addiction. In fact, he said multiple times that Cooper was the only reason he was still married.
But let's be clear, he's not the one who said he hates being married with kids. He responded to a woman's text by agreeing that everyone needs escapes. Which I can't disagree with, from time to time we all do.

He was indulging his addictions just fine with Cooper around. Whether Leanna grasped it or not, they were heading for divorce. He was clearly not attracted to her any longer, as his ED didn't seem to surface when he wanted to post his di*ck pix.

So yes, it seems Cooper was the reason he didn't dump Leanna. But it's just as likely this was because he wanted to be around his son as opposed to wanting him dead so he didn't have to financially support him. I think the few negative statements he made about parenthood were relatively mild on balance. Many parents, myself included, are willing to admit in private that it can be a very thankless job at times.

Without the now excluded prejudicial testimony, I really think the prosecution is going to have a difficult time supporting a charge of malice murder this time around. It's their burden to prove murderous intent, and the jury this time should be less inclined to flights of fancy. Whether Harris is guilty of intentional murder or not, the evidence of intent is pretty scant and much of what the prosecution presented can cut both ways.
 
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