Monday afternoon, Ross Harris was found guilty on all charges in the death of his son. Read full details about the verdict here.
Cobb County D.A. Vic Reynolds immediately responded with a press release. This is his statement in full:
Nov. 14, 2016 – Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds announces that Justin Ross Harris has been convicted of malice murder and all other charges after a trial that spanned three months and a change of venue more than 300 miles from Marietta to the coastal city of Brunswick. Sentencing will be Dec. 5 in Cobb.
“Today is not a victory, nor is it a day we celebrate. In fact, today is a monumentally sad day,” 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.”
Harris, 35, faced multiple charges in the death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper, who was left in Harris’ sweltering Hyundai Tucson for seven hours on June 18, 2014. The charges were malice murder, two counts of felony murder, and cruelty to children in the first degree and cruelty to children in the second degree. Harris was also charged with criminal attempt to commit sexual exploitation of children, and two misdemeanor counts of dissemination of harmful material to minors. The last three charges stem from Harris’ sexting activities with young girls.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring, who led the prosecution team that included Deputy Chief ADA Jesse Evans and Senior ADA Susan Treadaway, reminded jurors in his closing arguments last Monday that this case is about Cooper.
“The evidence speaks for Cooper,” ADA Boring said. “It can’t bring him back, but it can do him justice.”
On the morning of June 18, 2014, Harris took Cooper to breakfast at Chick-fil-A. Just six minutes after walking out of the restaurant, Harris parked his car at work and went into his office. Harris claimed he accidentally forgot the child during the drive to his office less than a mile away.
But Harris had also been sending messages to various people on his phone apps, including one sent while he was with Cooper at the Chick-fil-A. In that message, Harris wrote: “I love my son and all, but we both need escapes.” Harris sent that message just 10 minutes before getting out of his car with Cooper strapped inside. At lunchtime on June 18, Harris returned to his vehicle and tossed a bag of lightbulbs inside.
During the trial, the state called 52 witnesses and introduced more than 900 pieces of evidence, including the Hyundai Tucson.
“It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that someone could be capable of this,” ADA Boring 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.”
Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark set sentencing for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in Cobb. Harris faces a maximum of life in prison without parole plus 42 years.
Marietta attorneys Maddox Kilgore, Carlos Rodriguez and Bryan Lumpkin represented Harris, who has been in custody since Cooper’s death.
Cobb Police investigated this case. Jury selection in Brunswick began Sept. 12, and opening statements began Oct. 3.