One year later, hot car death case still not close to trial - CBS46 News

One year later, hot car death case still not close to trial

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Justin Ross Harris Justin Ross Harris
Cooper Harris Cooper Harris

Justin Ross Harris, the Cobb County man accused of letting his son Cooper die in the back of a hot car, is still waiting for his day in court, one year after his son died from extreme heat exposure.

Harris pulled over at Akers Mill Square the evening of June 18, 2014, got out, and began frantically trying to revive his son in the back seat.

Several people at a nearby pizza restaurant saw the scene play out. Cooper Harris was pronounced dead at the scene, and investigators believe it was not an accident that the boy was left in the back of the car.

Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds says that while it may seem like the process of getting to trial is taking a long time, it's not uncommon for a case of this nature to require an extended lead-up to its day in court.

"I'd rather it take a little while longer and we'll do it correctly, than rush it, and we don't," said Reynolds.

He said the case carries with it a large amount of evidence, which had to be reviewed first by the prosecution, and now is in the hands of Harris' defense attorneys.

"They're entitled to review every bit of the evidence. We had it first, now they have it," he said.

Harris' attorney, Maddox Kilgore, did not respond to a request for an interview or a statement for this report. But Kilgore was vehement in saying last summer that his client did not intentionally kill 22 month-old Cooper Harris.

"Cooper's death was a horrible, gut-wrenching accident," Kilgore told reporters in the summer of 2014.

Before the case can go to trial, a judge must first hear motions from the prosecution and defense, and rule on them. Reynolds said he expects that to happen late in the summer or early in the fall. After the motions have been heard and ruled upon, the judge will set a trial date.

That date probably will not be until sometime early in 2016, according to the Cobb County District Attorney's Office.Another factor is the jury.

Because of the saturated media coverage of this case, finding a jury pool that can fairly judge a trial may be more difficult in Cobb County, where the Harris family lived at the time of the incident..

"I think you probably were living under a rock if you didn't hear about this case," said Reynolds, saying that it might be necessary to move the trial to a different venue in a different region of the state.

"I've had the occasion on previous trials to go outside the county," said Reynolds.

"Sometimes that happens. You've got to go where the case can properly be tried. "Everybody wants to try it once, and that's it."

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