Dad Whose Toddler Died in Hot Car Isn't At All What Everyone Thought

Things are not looking good for the Marietta, Georgia, father who was charged with murder after his 22-month-old son was found dead in his hot car. The father, Justin Ross Harris, had claimed he'd forgotten to drop his son off at daycare, and the boy ended up slowly roasting to death in the oven-like car. Harris was distraught at the scene, and the public was shocked that he was charged with felony murder, which meant that he deliberately killed his son. Supporters rallied, demanding the police to withdraw the charge -- hadn't the man suffered enough? But from the beginning, police indicated they knew more than the public did.

Today, prosecutors justified their murder charge -- and dropped several bombshells. Police believe that Harris wanted to live a "child-free life" and that he was living a double life and sexting numerous women.


At Harris' probable cause hearing, prosecutors painted a picture of a man who felt bogged down by his fatherly duties and had "this whole second life ... with alternate personas."

He sexted with at least six women throughout the day his son was dying in his car. He also sent a picture of his penis to a 16-year-old that day (she has since turned 17 -- it's unclear if he knew her age).

Harris deleted some of the messages, but investigators were able to find them. He also met up with some women for sex and had cheated on his wife in the past. In one sexting exchange, a woman asked Harris, "Do you have a conscience?" and he replied, "Nope."

In addition to his extracurriculars, Harris researched how long it would take for an animal to die in a hot car, as well as "child-free" websites and "how to survive in prison."

Harris and his wife, Leanna, had two insurance policies on the baby, one for $2,000 and one for $25,000. The pair were also having financial difficulties, with Harris having been passed over for a promotion. (No wonder, with all that sexting.)

But it was Harris' behavior at the scene of the crime that first made police suspicious. He reportedly said, "I'll be charged with a felony," "I can't believe this is happening to me," and never called 911.

Additionally, it was reported that Harris went to his car during lunch to retrieve something but somehow never saw the boy. (Police later said the car reeked of death and that the boy probably died before noon, which means that even if he didn't see the boy, he likely would have smelled him.)

Sounds like Harris was a lousy husband, but it remains to be seen if a jury will believe that a man who cheated and lied and spent his workday sexting would also want to kill his toddler. As other famous murder cases have proved, juries can be fickle.

Has your opinion of him changed?


Image via Cobb County Sheriff's Dept.

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