The Georgia father whose 22-month old son died after being left in a hot car earlier this summer was indicted Thursday and charged with murder.
A grand jury indicted Justin Ross Harris on eight counts including malice murder, felony murder, and cruelty to children in the first and second degree.
In addition, the indictment included counts of criminal attempt to commit a felony and dissemination of harmful material to minors, in relation to allegations that Harris had been exchanging sexually explicit messages with an underage girl.
Justin Ross Harris has maintained that he forgot to drop off his son Cooper at day care on the morning of June 18th, and that he had not realized his son was still in the car as it sat in the parking lot where he worked. Cooper died that day after sitting in the car for several hours in high temperatures while still strapped in his car seat.
At a probable cause hearing in July, the prosecution by contrast painted a portrait of a father who intentionally left his son in the car because he wanted to live a “child-free life,” referencing various online searches and viewing activity. Among that activity was alleged evidence of Harris having viewed articles posted in a “childfree” sub-forum of the popular internet site Reddit. Also referenced were allegations that Harris watched a public service announcement video about hot car deaths, and that both Harris and his wife had researched hot car deaths online.
Cobb County, Georgia police Detective Phil Stoddard also testified during the July hearing that Harris was allegedly sexting with other women – including one who was underage at the time – in the weeks before and on the day of Cooper’s death.
Harris is expected to be arraigned in the next few weeks, according to MyFOXAtlanta/AP.
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