Grand Jury indicts Justin Ross Harris in death of son in hot car


A Cobb County Grand Jury returned an indictment on Justin Ross Harris Thursday on eight counts related to the death of his 22-month-old son Cooper.

Harris is charged with murder, malice murder and child cruelty in the death of his son.

After the indictment, Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds that he was pleased with the pace and thoroughness of the investigation, but would not try the case through the media.

"The indictment speaks for itself," Reynolds said.

The district attorney would not discuss whether he plans to seek charges against the child's mother Leanna.

"The evidence in this case has led us to this point today," Reynolds said. "Whether or not it leads us to anyone else remains to be answered."

In response, Lawrence Zimmerman, the attorney for Leanna Harris, sent CBS46 the following statement:

"I am surprised that the District Attorney is still contemplating after almost three months of reviewing the evidence whether or not to charge my client, if that is who he was referring to in his press conference. By now, I would think they would have been able to make a final decision and clear her from any wrongdoing."

The district attorney also said that a decision on whether his office will seek the death penalty for Justin Ross Harris would come at or before the arraignment.

Harris told investigators he forgot Cooper was in his car when he went to work on June 18. Cooper was found more than seven hours later dead in the car.

An autopsy showed that the boy had died from the extreme heat. Cooper's body was in a state of rigor mortis when he was removed from the car, according to detectives.

Prosecutors alleged Harris was unhappy at work and in his marriage, portraying him as an unfaithful husband who wanted a child-free life.

According to Detective Phil Stoddard, Harris had been sexting girls, one as young as 17 years old, throughout the day while he was at work. Harris messaged six women, sending and receiving explicit texts, some including nude images.

Police also said that Harris had visited several sites that showed people dying in all sorts of ways, including suicides and executions.

Harris and his wife, Leanna, had two life insurance policies on Cooper totaling $27,000.

The Grand Jury indicted Harris on the following charges:

Malice Murder

Felony Murder

Felony Murder

Cruelty to Children in the First Degree

Cruelty to Children in the Second Degree

Criminal Attempt to Commit a Felony, to wit: Sexual Exploitation of Children

Dissemination of harmful Material to Minors

Dissemination of Harmful material to Minors will have more information as it becomes available.

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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