Psychologist: What was father's state of mind when baby died? - CBS46 News

Psychologist: What was father's state of mind when baby died?

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COBB COUNTY (CBS46) -

An expert psychologist told CBS46 News Justin Harris' state of mind the day he left his son to die in a hot car is important in his murder case.

Harris told Cobb County Police he accidentally left his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in his car while he went to work on June 18. The child spent seven hours in the hot car.

Harris said he only noticed his son after he left work and was driving home. He pulled over in the Akers Mill Shopping Center and called for help.

"Let's say that while he's going to work, he's also reading his phone and doing these things that take him away from the moment," said Erik Fisher, a licensed psychologist who has written books on depression and anxiety, as well as parenting. "It's very easy in a few seconds to lose track of what just happened and that my son's in a car."

A detective testified during Harris' bond hearing that the father sexted a half dozen women while he was at work.

"If his mind is preoccupied about what's happening at work, who am I going to text next, things like that, all those things he seemed to have his double life into, it's very possible that he's preoccupied and not paying attention," said Fisher.

Police said Harris and his wife, Leanna, did Internet research on how a child dies in a hot car. It has raised questions as to whether the couple planned the death. Leanna Harris has not been charged.

Fisher said perhaps the couple had left their son in their car before and truly did fear what could have happened.

"Here's a situation where some people can say I knew this would happen, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy, tragically so," said Fisher. "It's not that they created it, but that this perfect storm of situations came to pass. It can make somebody look very guilty. However, if you're being objective, it's one piece of data, it's not a smoking gun."

Search warrants indicate police have seized Harris' computer and other electronic equipment. They have also asked for Harris' medical records and those of his son.

The Cobb County District Attorney's Office said it will present the case to a grand jury after police conclude their investigation.

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