Georgia man found guilty of murder over death of toddler son in hot car

Justin Ross Harris, arrested for allegedly leaving his young son in a hot car resulting in his death, wipes away tears at a bail hearing in Cobb County Magistrate Court in Marietta, Georgia July 3, 2014.
Justin Ross Harris, arrested for allegedly leaving his young son in a hot car resulting in his death, wipes away tears at a bail hearing in Cobb County Magistrate Court in Marietta, Georgia July 3, 2014. PHOTO: REUTERS

ATLANTA (REUTERS) - A jury on Monday (Nov 14) found a Georgia man guilty of the murder of his toddler son, who died in June 2014 after being left in his car seat for seven hours on a sweltering day outside his father's suburban Atlanta workplace.

Justin Ross Harris, 35, faces life in prison for the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris, whom he was accused of killing in order to pursue a new life without his wife and child.

The murder allegations were the most serious of the eight charges against Harris, who also stood trial on charges including child cruelty and sex crimes related to explicit texts that he sent to a teenage girl.

He was found guilty on Monday of all eight counts. Jurors deliberated over four days.

During the five-week trial, prosecutors argued that Harris intentionally left his son to die in a locked SUV outside his office. Phone and Internet records show Harris was sending explicit messages for much of the day when his son was dying inside the sweltering car.

The defence countered that the death was accidental, saying Harris was a flawed man who simply forgot his son was in the car.

Harris, who did not testify, wept many times during the trial, particularly when pictures of his dead son were shown to the jury. On Monday, he remained stoic as the verdicts were read.