Convicted Cobb murderer Justin Ross Harris is being given three days in Cobb Superior Court to argue his case for a new trial in relation to his son’s death, court records show.
Harris was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December 2016 after being found guilty in the June 2014 death of his 22-month-old son Cooper Harris, whom he left trapped inside his hot car for hours while at work.
At the beginning of 2017, Harris’ lawyers filed a 30-page motion in Cobb Superior Court for a new trial, claiming the court made several errors that effectively denied Harris a fair trial.
Judge Mary Staley Clark, who presided over the entire Harris murder trial, heard from parties in March as to whether they were ready to proceed with Harris’ motion for a new trial, and subsequently set the motion hearing for Dec. 14, 15 and 16 this year, per court records.
It is not known at this stage whether Harris will appear in court or if he will remain in prison for the hearing.
Harris is reportedly serving his life sentence in the high-security Macon State Prison, and has not been present for several of the latest court proceedings in his case.
Harris argues that errors in his initial murder trial included him being tried for both the death of his son and unrelated charges in relation to him allegedly sending explicit photos to a minor.
That case, in which Harris was indicted on two counts of sexual exploitation of children and six counts of disseminating harmful material to minors, was dropped by state prosecutors while Harris’ motion for a new murder trial was under consideration, per court documents.
An order placing Harris’ sexual exploitation case on the “administrative dead docket” in Cobb Superior Court was signed by Staley Clark in March 2017.
The order, co-signed by Cobb assistant district attorney Charles Boring, further states that if Harris’ conviction and/or sentence in the murder case is modified or reversed, the state will reactivate his sexual exploitation indictment.
Harris also argued his murder trial was flawed because his lawyers were prevented from challenging the credibility of Cobb police detectives, and that bad character evidence was allowed to be presented against him, despite it not being directly linked to his relationship with his son, the victim.
At the time of his son’s death, Harris was living in Marietta with his wife, Leanna Taylor, after the family moved to the city in 2012. Harris and Taylor divorced in March 2016, ahead of the murder trial jury selection.
The trial was ultimately held in the coastal Georgia town of Brunswick, about 300 miles southeast of Cobb County, as Staley Clark agreed Harris was unlikely to get a fair trial at 乐乐棋牌 due to the widespread public interest in his case and the “persistent” media coverage.
After the jury found Harris guilty of all counts, Staley Clark sentenced him to life without parole plus 32 years.
In his motion for a new trial, Harris states his conviction is “contrary to the evidence and the principles of justice and equity” and that the prosecution did not disprove beyond a reasonable doubt Harris’ assertion that leaving his son in a hot car was an accident.
“The defendant should be acquitted and discharged because the verdict was decidedly and strongly against the weight of the evidence,” Harris’ motion for a new trial states.