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Justin Ross Harris, Sexting Georgia Dad, Charged With Son's Hot Car Death

Image: Justin Ross Harris, Sexting Georgia Dad, Charged With Son's Hot Car Death
Justin Ross Harris. (Pool/Reuters/Landov)

By    |   Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 01:46 PM

Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia dad who was busy sexting at work while his son was locked in a hot car in the parking lot, was charged this week with the toddler's death.

More than two months after the 22-month-old boy died, a Cobb County grand jury indicted Harris Thursday on multiple charges, including malice murder, felony murder, and cruelty to children, The Associated Press reported. The malice murder charge indicates that prosecutors believe that Harris intentionally left his son Cooper in the hot car to die.

The eight-count indictment also includes charges related to sexually explicit exchanges prosecutors say Harris had with an underage girl.

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Harris has been in jail since his arrest the day his son died. Harris' lawyer, Maddox Kilgore, did not immediately respond to a phone message and email seeking comment.

Harris has told police he was supposed to drive his son to day care the morning of June 18 but drove to work without realizing that the child was strapped into a car seat in the back.

Police have said the toddler was left in a vehicle for about seven hours on a day when temperatures in the Atlanta area reached at least into the high 80s. The medical examiner's office has said the boy died of hyperthermia — essentially overheating — and has called his death a homicide.

During a three-hour hearing in July, prosecutor Chuck Boring questioned a police detective at length, outlining evidence he said proved that Harris intentionally left his young boy in the hot SUV. But defense attorney Maddox Kilgore argued that the evidence was insufficient and that the boy's death was a tragic accident.

Harris was sitting in his office exchanging nude photos with several women, including a teenager, the day his son died, Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified at the hearing.

The indictment also accuses Harris of asking a girl under the age of 18 to send him a nude photo and of sending nude photos of himself and sexually explicit messages to her. It charges him with attempting to sexually exploit a child and with disseminating harmful material to a minor.

Stoddard said Harris also had looked at websites advocating a child-free lifestyle and had researched how long it takes to die in a hot car.

Harris is a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and moved to Georgia in 2012 to work for Home Depot.

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Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia dad who was busy sexting at work while his son was locked in a hot car in the parking lot, was charged this week with the toddler's death.
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Thursday, 04 Sep 2014 01:46 PM
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