A father identified as Justin Ross Harris forgot his son, Cooper in his car, went into his office, sent sexually explicit messages to different woman and only realized when he had driven for a few minutes after leaving work.
Harris claims that he forgot to drop his son off at a daycare on June 18, 2014 and didn’t realise he had left the boy strapped into his car seat.
Prosecutors however argued that Harris wanted to be free of family responsibilities. An investigation revealed that he made Internet searches about life without children, how to survive prison and also watched videos of animals dying in cars in the sun. A police detective also revealed that Harris had texted sexually explicit messages to six women, one of them as young as 17, while his son suffocated in the car.
A jury three weeks ago found him guilty of charges including malice murder, cruelty to children and sexual exploitation of children – in reference to the teenage woman he texted. In addition to the life term for the murder charge, Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark added 32 years for the other crimes.
Harris, who was wearing an orange prison jumpsuit with his hands and ankles shackled, declined to speak at the sentencing. He also did not show any emotion as the sentence was read out. His attorney, Maddox Kilgore, said he planned to file a motion for a new trial.