Justin Ross Harris, 33, a Georgia man who authorities believe left his toddler to die in a hot car on purpose will be stand trial for murder. Harris was indicted on eight counts including malice murder in connection with the death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper, who died in a sweltering car in June.
According to Cobb Country District Attorney Vic Reynolds said in a statement. “This was another step in the process, we look forward to this case running it’s course and ultimately justice being served.” Reynolds said Harris would likely be in court for arraignment in two or three weeks. A defendant can face a felony murder charge whether a death was intentional or not, Cobb County spokeswoman Kim Isaza said in an email. A charge of malice murder alleges intent.
Harris has been placed in jail since the day of his arrest when his son died. According to Harris’ attorney, Maddox Kilgore, said his client was devastated after losing his son, his livelihood and freedom.
Harris has told police he was supposed to drive his son to nursery on the morning of June 18, but drove to work without noticing that the child was strapped into a car seat in the back. Police have mentioned that the toddler was left in the vehicle for about seven hours on a day when temperatures in the Atlanta area reached more than 30 degrees Celsius. The medical’s examiner’s office has said the boy died of hyperthermia and has called his death a homicide.
Harris was sitting in his office exchanging nude photos with several women, including a teenager, the day his son died. 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 him-self and sexually explicit messages to her.
According to investigators, Harris was having marital and work problems. Harris’ wife was interviewed by authorities but has not been charged in the case.
The case has drawn attention to tragic cause of death in children. So far this year 26 children have died of vehicle heat strokes in the United States, according to KidsAndCars.org. On average, the group sees 38 deaths each year.