Criminal Justice

Dad is charged with murder in son's hot-car death; indictment also claims he sexted underage girl

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A Georgia man has been indicted on charges of murder in the hot-car death of his 22-month old son.

Justin Ross Harris was indicted Thursday on eight charges, five of them in connection with the June 18 death and three in connection with his alleged sexting of an underage girl, according to the Daily Report (sub. req.), the Marietta Daily Journal and CNN. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution links to the indictment (PDF).

Police allege Harris put his boy, Cooper Harris, in a car seat, drove to Home Depot where he worked as a web developer, and left the child in the hot car for seven hours, according to the CNN account. On the way home he stopped in a parking lot and jumped out, yelling “Oh my God, what have I done?” according to testimony at a July 3 probable cause hearing. His lawyers have said the toddler’s death was an accident and Justin Ross Harris intended to leave the boy at day care.

Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard also testified at the probable cause hearing that Harris sent sexts to an underage female and other women while he was at work that day, according to the CNN account.

The five charges related to the death of Cooper Harris are malice murder, two counts of felony murder, and cruelty to children in the first and second degree. The sexting charges are criminal attempt to commit a felony, sexual exploitation of a minor, and dissemination of harmful material to a minor.

Related articles: “Dad faces controversial felony murder case in death of toddler son in hot car” “After police report dad’s Web searches and sexting, judge OKs murder case in toddler’s hot-car death” “PayPal to refund donations made for dad’s defense in murder case over son’s hot-car death”

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