Cooper Mills Harris Murder: Cooper Mills Harris was born, and Leanna Taylor and her partner, Justin Ross Harris, were delighted to take on the role of parents. Leanna had no idea that Ross would be responsible for Cooper’s death on June 18, 2014, barely 22 months later. Cooper’s sad death in the backseat of Ross’ automobile is told in the ABC true crime series”20/20” episode “Hot Car Death: Baby Cooper,” which also describes the subsequent homicide investigation. If you want to know more about Cooper Harris’s death and her killer’s current whereabouts, keep reading below.
Who Was Cooper Harris?
Cooper Harris, a 22-month-old Atlanta suburb infant, died of a heat stroke on June 18, 2014, after being left in a rear-facing car seat for approximately seven hours in his father’s SUV. Cooper’s father, Justin Ross Harris, was arrested and charged with murder while claiming that his son’s death was an unfortunate accident. Harris was found guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and additional charges by a jury on November 14, 2016, following a high-profile trial with extensive media coverage. Consequently, he was given a life sentence without the possibility of release + 32 years. On June 22, 2022, the Georgia Supreme Court determined that Justin Ross Harris did not get a fair trial and voided his convictions in the Cooper murder case. Now, he is entitled to a new trial.
How Did Cooper Mills Harris Die?
On June 18, 2014, while on his way to work, Justin Ross Harris was supposed to drop off Cooper at daycare. At or around 8:57 a.m., Harris and Cooper met for breakfast at a Chick-fil-A on Cumberland Parkway in Vinings, Georgia, less than a mile from his office. After breakfast, Harris placed Cooper in a rear-facing car seat and drove his Hyundai Tucson to his place of employment at Home Depot. At 9:25 a.m., he entered the office, leaving Cooper in his car seat.
At 12:30, two friends picked up Harris from his employment, and the three of them headed to Publix for lunch. After finishing their meal, Harris and his partner proceeded to the Home Depot on Cumberland Parkway, where he purchased light bulbs. After his companions dropped him off in the parking lot of his workplace, he walked to his SUV, opened the driver’s door, and placed the light bulbs inside. Even though it is unknown whether or not Harris ever saw his kid, Cooper, who had been locked in the car for three hours, Harris was later charged with abandoning his child to die. During his interview with police authorities, Harris stumbled through a response regarding his recent purchase of light bulbs before moving on swiftly.
At 4:16 p.m., seven hours after leaving Cooper in the SUV, Harris returned to the vehicle and drove it away from his place of employment. After work, he and his friends went to an AMC theatre to watch 22 Jump Street. Minutes later, he discovered his son motionless in the back seat and reported to authorities that he stopped in the parking lot of an outdoor shopping mall to call for help and administer CPR. However, when a witness informed Harris that his son required CPR, Harris went to the opposite side of his vehicle and made three phone calls, according to police reports, but never dialed 911.
Harris told detectives that he forgot to drop off his son at daycare that morning and instead drove directly to his job as a web developer for Home Depot because Cooper was still in the car seat. When the temperature that day reached 92 degrees Fahrenheit (33.33 degrees Celsius), Cooper died after being kept in Harris’ car for almost seven hours.
Who Killed Cooper Mills Harris?
Investigation concerning Cooper’s death Harris paid close attention to his father’s extramarital sexual activity. On the day of Cooper’s death, Harris apparently interacted with numerous women and “sexted” (exchanged sexually explicit text messages) with at least six individuals, including minors. The behavior of Harris and his son as they pulled into a shopping mall raised suspicions that he murdered Cooper on purpose so he could live a “kid-free” existence. Before abandoning his son, Harris allegedly sent a text message to a woman that stated, “I love my son and everything, but we both need getaways.”
Police initially viewed Leanna Harris, the mother of Cooper, with suspicion, but she was eventually ruled out as a suspect. Leanna Harris initiated divorce proceedings in February 2016. Even after the divorce was finalized, she used her maiden name, “Leanna Taylor.” Despite their recent divorce, Leanna insisted on staying by her ex-husband during his trial for murder in the Cooper case.
Where Is Killer Ross Harris Now?
After nearly three weeks of jury selection, Judge Mary Staley Clark of the Cobb County Superior Court concluded in April 2015 that it would be too difficult to find a fair jury in Cobb County, where the boy died, and allowed a defense motion to relocate the trial elsewhere. The trial was for Justin Ross Harris’s murder. After a month of hearing testimony, the Glynn County jury deliberated for four days under the leadership of the senior assistant district attorney for Cobb County, Chuck Boring.
The prosecution said that Harris intentionally left his kid Cooper in the SUV so that he could avoid his parental responsibilities and indulge in sexual encounters with other individuals without fear of repercussions. Maddox Kilgore, the defense attorney, admitted that Harris was responsible for Cooper’s death due to his carelessness in forgetting Cooper was in the vehicle. In the end, all eight allegations against Harris were upheld, and he was convicted. Harris was found guilty of premeditated murder, felony murder, and felony sexual exploitation of a juvenile for sending sexual text messages and nude photographs to a minor.
The prosecution recorded Harris returning to the SUV during lunch to replace the front-seat light bulbs. Although Ross Harris does not appear to look inside the car in the video, police detectives believe he must have recognized the odour of death either before he drove away or after he came home that evening. On cross-examination, the police officers disclosed that they did not mention the odor until more than a year after Cooper’s death, and other witnesses at the scene testified that they did not smell an odour. The prosecution also claimed that Harris had researched “childlessness” and child fatalities in hot vehicles before the incident.
Leanna Taylor, Cooper’s mother and Harris’ ex-wife, testified in his defense, stating that his sexual adventures “destroyed” her life but that he did not intentionally kill their child.
On November 14, 2016, a court found Harris guilty of murder with malice and sentenced him to life without parole + 32 years in prison. He is currently incarcerated at the Oglethorpe County Jail in Macon, Georgia.