Criminal Justice

PayPal to refund donations made for dad's defense in murder case over son's hot-car death

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An online efforts to raise funds for the legal defense of a Georgia father charged in a controversial murder case over the death of his young son in a hot car has been suspended, and the $22,000 already donated will be refunded.

A PayPal spokeswoman told the Associated Press it will give refunds to those who used the online service to donate to the fund for Justin Ross Harris. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the site that had hosted the page promoting the fundraising effort said it had become a distraction and hence was eliminated.

Spokesman Michael Blasco called the case a “sensitive matter involving the Harris family” and said doesn’t take sides in legal disputes, the news agency reports.

Media reports also say that Harris has been fired from his job at Home Depot, that his Harris’ wife has hired a lawyer although she faces no charges in the case, and that toxicology results show their 22-month-old son had ingested no poison or drug before his death, WXIA reports.

Attorney Lawrence Zimmerman of Atlanta confirmed to the Associated Press that he represents Leanna Harris, but declined to discuss his role. A former prosecutor discusses in a WGCL article how authorities may be conducting their investigation.

Justin Harris is being held without bond, on charges of felony murder and child cruelty.

Additional and related coverage: “After police report dad’s Web searches and sexting, judge OKs murder case in toddler’s hot-car death”

CNN (opinion): “Lawyers’ smart move in hot car death”

NBC News: “Friend of Hot-Car Dad: ‘He Was the Ferris Bueller of Tuscaloosa’”

WGCL/CBS 46: “Computer expert: Recovering Justin Harris’ data may be a challenge”

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