In a case that has gained national attention, the wife of a man charged in the death of his son after leaving him in a hot car for seven hours has filed for divorce. He has been held without bond since June 2014 and his trial date is set for April.
Death of Son
According to police, Justin Ross Harris left his 22-month old son to die in his car on June 18, 2014 while he was at work. Police say evidence indicates that Harris intentionally left his son, Cooper, in the car. Police say that both parents did extensive internet searches on the subject and made comments that seemed suspicious after the child’s death. Police say that Leanne Harris, the child’s mother, displayed no emotion when told her son was dead and asked her husband if he had “said too much” to police. Mrs. Harris has not been charged in the crime. Police also said that Mr. Harris was “sexting” different women while his son was dying. The text messages included nude photos and some of his internet searches included tips on surviving prison.
Mrs. Harris’ divorce filing states that her marriage is “irretrievably broken” and that innuendo in the media has compounded her grief in the loss of her son. The couple was married on May 27, 2006 and have been separated since June 18, 2014, when their son was found dead in Mr. Harris’ sweltering SUV. The divorce papers say that newspapers, television and online media have led to extreme scrutiny of Mrs. Harris. The papers say that Mrs. Harris feels harassed and hounded much like Richard Jewell, the man thought to have been responsible for the Olympic bombing who was later exonerated and actually found to have acted heroically that day. Reports are that Mr. Harris was living an alternative lifestyle and was involved with several women during the marriage.
In late January, a Cobb County judge ruled that evidence collected against Mr. Harris would be admissible in court, dealing a blow to the defense. Mr. Harris has pled not guilty to charges that include malice murder, felony murder and cruelty to children. This means that evidence collected by police will be used against Mr. Harris when he faces trial.
Each year, almost 40 children die when they are accidentally left behind in vehicles that can heat rapidly. A distracted or harried parent leaves home with a small child, intending to drop them at daycare. The child falls asleep or is quiet and the parent simply forgets they are in the car. Because infants and toddlers cannot regulate their temperature as well as adults, a child can die of hyperthermia in as little as 15 minutes. In just half an hour, even in cool weather, the interior of a vehicle can increase by 35 degrees. There are currently tests being done on alarms or other features in vehicles that notify parents that there is a child in the backseat in order to avoid such tragedies. Waggoner Insurance wants to keep your family protected should tragedy strike. We can review all your insurance policies, including, life, health, auto and home, to be sure that you have the right coverage for your needs. Call us or visit us online today.