Justin Ross Harris, the father convicted of murder for leaving his 22-month-old son Cooper in a hot car for seven hours, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole, reports the Associated Press. Jurors believe Harris, who had been sexting while his child was dying of hyperthermia, intentionally killed his son.
Instead of taking Cooper to daycare, the 36-year-old father left Cooper in his Hyundai Tucson outside his office in suburban Atlanta, where temperatures reached into the high 80s. Inside the car, temperatures could have reached up to 130 degrees.
The story became significantly stranger, as investigators found evidence that Harris sexted several women while his son was in his car, including a prostitute and a minor, the AP reports. Harris was found to have visited subreddits related to being child-free and people who died, and he also Googled “age of consent for Georgia” and “how to survive in prison,” according to Jezebel. Investigators determined that Harris wanted to leave his responsibilities as a father behind.
Significant local and national media attention forced Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark granted a request by Harris’ defense to move the trial from Cobb County where Cooper died to Glenn County in order to get a fair trial, according to the AP. After a month of reviewing evidence and testimony and four days of deliberation, the jury found Harris guilty of malice murder, felony murder, and sending nude photos and sexually explicit texts to a teen girl.
Harris initially tried to argue that he had forgotten the child, but Harris’ Tucson did not have a rear-view camera, and it was highly unlikely that he would have missed the sight of his son in the rear-view mirror.