Today in a courtroom about five miles from my house, Justin Ross Harris, the father accused of felony murder for leaving his 22 month old son in a hot car for nearly 8 hours, attended a probable cause hearing, A judge heard part of the prosecution’s case and it was pretty chilling. I admit to dozing off during much of it, but I wanted to relate the important parts.
It was made clear that Harris was the one responsible for taking the child to daycare most mornings as it was right by his office. Some days the mother would pick the boy up from daycare earlier in the day. The morning routine was to stop at Chik=Fil-A for breakfast and then take the boy to daycare less than a mile from the Chik-Fil-A which was practically in the same complex as the office where Harris works. Harris parked the car and sat in the car for a full thirty seconds before getting out and going into his office.
While at work, Harris spent the day sexting with six different women. Approximately two weeks before, Harris had been sexting with a woman who knew he was married. She asked, ” Do you have a conscience?” He replied, “No.”
Computer searches revealed he was sending out pictures of his penis to a variety of women. He and his wife had both searched for information on how long it takes for a child to die in a hot car. He had also watched video online twice about “Living A Child-Free Life.”
Harris went to lunch with coworkers and they parked very close to his car when they returned. At some point while he was out of the office for lunch, he put some light bulbs in the front seat of the car with the dead child in the back seat. When he left he drove for approximately five minutes before pulling into a parking lot and “discovering” the dead boy in the back seat. In front of a crowd of people leaving work, he put on a histrionic performance attempting to give the boy CPR. Some witness said he would look to the sky and scream “What have I done?” crying in spurts and then acting completely normal for a stretch before doing it again. Officers arrested him on the spot.
On the day the boy died, the mother went to daycare only to discover that the boy was not there. Someone testified in court today that her response was, “Justin must have forgotten him in the car.” WTF?
In the courtroom today, Harris could not make eye contact with his church’s youth pastor who was there testifying as to his character during the bond portion of his hearing. His wife sat calmly chewing gum in the gallery. The wife showed no emotion at all and at times looked bored. Harris looked like someone who knew he was in trouble. He was not emotional during descriptions of his son’s death either. The grandparents were all despondent.
The judge found for the prosecution stating there was probable cause for the felony murder charge. Despite a youth minister and a co-worker giving positive character statements, the judge denied bond citing that the case is a potential death penalty case and Harris was returned to custody.