Hot Car Death Trial Should Have Some Charges Removed, Defense Says

Harris Defense Attorneys Want Hot Car Death and Other Charges in Separate Trials

hot car deathIn October, defendant Justin Ross Harris pleaded not guilty to hot car death criminal charges involving the death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper, where Harris left him all day.

In early September, Harris was officially indicted on Georgia murder charges  for the death of his toddler son in June. Harris was arrested on June 18th after he pulled over in a parking lot because his son was unresponsive in the back seat of Harris’s car. Initially, Harris claimed that he forgot that his son was in the vehicle – he should have dropped the child off at day care earlier that morning, but instead, the child was left in his car seat throughout the blistering Georgia summer day and eventually, the child died of heatstroke. However, investigators found that Harris had taken his son to breakfast at Chick-Fil-A that morning, and had returned to his car at least once over the course of his work-day.

Investigators worked for months to find a motive for the hot car death of the young child, and they believed that Harris was unhappy in his marriage. Harris reportedly sexted with a 16-year-old girl and some other young women, and he has been charged with sexting with a minor in addition to the murder charges involving his young son.

Evidence also shows that both Harris parents researched heatstroke death on the internet before Cooper’s death. On the day of the child’s heatstroke death, Leanna went to Cooper’s daycare center to pick him up and, when told the child had never appeared, said, “Ross must have left him in the car.” When witnesses tried to tell her multiple things could have happened to the toddler, she was insistent that her husband had left their son in his hot vehicle.

Now, Harris’s defense attorneys want the charges separated into two trials. The statutory charges and the malice murder charges were an “improper joinder of offenses.”

“Those things seem decidedly different. However, in our court system prosecutors, and to some extent our judicial system, they like all this lumped together,” said a defense attorney.

Harris’s attorney filed 15 motions to have the hot car murder and sex crime charges separated. He also requested that taped conversations between Harris and his wife, Leanna – who has not been charged in the hot car death of her son – be removed as evidence.

The motions are scheduled for hearing on Monday, November 17th.

Harris has already pleaded not guilty to charges of felony murder and second-degree child cruelty related to Cooper’s heatstroke death. On Friday, October 17th, Harris’s attorney waived a formal arraignment and entered a not guilty plea for the new first-degree murder charges.

The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Criminals On Behalf of Murder Victims

If you or a loved one are the victims of a serious crime, including child endangerment, kidnapping, or murder, it is important that you take the person who hurt you to court – whether it is a Georgia state criminal trial, or personal injury lawsuitThe attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have been based in Columbia, SC for 16 years, and are also licensed to practice in Georgia and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us for help. 803.252.4800