Cop says dad sent nude photos while tot sat in car
A Georgia man who police say intentionally killed his toddler son by leaving the boy inside a hot SUV was exchanging nude photos with women the day his son died and had looked at websites that advocated against having children, a detective testified Thursday.
Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard testified at a hearing that evidence showed Justin Ross Harris was practically leading a double life and should not be granted bond. Stoddard described the evidence he said suggests Harris, who is charged with murder, killed his 22-month-old son Cooper intentionally.
Harris and his wife had two life-insurance policies for the toddler, one for $2,000 and one for $25,000. Furthermore, Harris’ wife had become unhappy with her husband’s spending habits, Stoddard said.
At that same hearing, a judge refused to grant bond for Harris, meaning he will remain in jail.
Harris, 33, has told police he was supposed to drive his son to day care the morning of June 18 but drove to work without realizing that the child was strapped into a car seat in the back.
Harris was exchanging nude photos with several women, including at least one teenager, even on the day his son died when he was at work, Stoddard said.
However, defense attorney Maddox Kilgore said that evidence had no bearing on Harris’ intent.
“I think the real purpose of all that is to publicly shame him,” Kilgore said.
Kilgore also said Harris and his family will have to deal with what he called a catastrophic accident for the rest of their lives. Harris, who was stoic through most of the hearing, began crying at that point.
In the weeks before the boy’s death, Harris also had looked at a website that advocated against having children and had done an Internet search for “how to survive in prison,” the detective said.
“I think the evidence now is showing intent,” Stoddard said. He said Harris should remain in jail because he is a flight risk: There is evidence he was leading a double life, he has family in Alabama, and the former 911 dispatcher has law-enforcement experience.