BRUNSWICK, Ga. (WIAT) — Tuscaloosa native Justin Ross Harris has been found guilty by a jury on all counts in the hot car death of his 22-month-old toddler son Cooper.
Monday, the jury found Harris guilty on all eight counts which include malice murder, felony murder, cruelty to children, criminal attempt to commit a felony and dissemination of harmful material to minors.
“Today is not a victory, nor is it a day we celebrate. In fact, today is a monumentally sad day,” Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said. “This has been a 29-month journey culminating in this guilty verdict. I want to thank the community of Glynn County for their hospitality and the Cobb Police Department for their hard work. And I certainly want to thank all the members of DA’s Office who worked on this case. It was a true team effort, and I believe justice was served today on behalf of young Cooper Harris.”
Cooper was left inside Harris’ SUV for seven hours on June 18, 2014. That morning, he had taken Cooper for breakfast at Chick-fil-A. Reynolds said just six minutes after leaving the restaurant, Harris parked his car and went in his office, leaving Cooper inside. Reynolds says Harris had been sending messages on his phone including one sent while he was at Chick-Fil-A with Cooper. The message reportedly reads: “I love my son and all, but we both need escapes.” The message was sent just 10 minutes before he left his vehicle with Cooper inside.
“It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that someone could be capable of this,” ADA Chuck Boring, who led the prosecution team, said. But the evidence, including the Defendant’s acknowledgement of leading a double life that included trysts with a prostitute and an unhappy marriage, showed that Harris “loved himself and his obsession more than that little boy,” Boring said. “He told people numerous times, ‘I lead a double life.’ He showed exactly who he is on June 18, 2014.”
Harris faces up to a life sentence without parole plus 42 years. A sentencing hearing is set for December 5th in Cobb County.