Crime

Dad Who Left Son In Hot Car Sentenced To Life

| by Sheena Vasani

After his son died from being alone in a hot car for hours, authorities sentenced one Georgia father to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Dec. 5.

In November, 35-year-old Justin Ross Harris was convicted of intentional murder after he left his 22-month-old son, Cooper, alone to die in a car. On June 18, 2014, Cooper was abandoned in the vehicle for seven hours, NBC News reports.

Instead of dropping his son off to daycare, the man left the boy alone in a Home Depot parking lot before heading to work, leaving the child to die in sweltering heat.

"What factually was a horrendous horrific experience for this 22-month old child who had been placed in the trust of his father and in violation and dereliction of duty to that child, if not love of that child, callously walked away and left that child in a hot car in June in Georgia in the summer to swelter and die," Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark said of the man.

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In addition to malice murder and cruelty to children, Harris was also convicted of sexual exploitation of minors. Reports later revealed he had engaged in sexual behavior with underage girls.

Prosecutors argued that Harris purposefully left his child to die so he could spend more time pursuing extramarital sexual relationships with women he met online and prostitutes. 

Evidence reveals the man had spent time a few days prior to the incident watching a video by a veterinarian demonstrating the effects of leaving a pet in a hot car.

However, the defense argued that it was a tragic accident, pointing out Harris' work was not too far off from Home Depot. They say he had changed his usual routine that day by taking his son out to breakfast that morning, and consequently forgot the child was still in the car.

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The defense also added that while he had been involved in "immoral sexual behavior," Harris had been making efforts to turn his life around.

Sources: NBC News (2) / Photo credit: NBC News via WXIA/Facebook

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