Georgia’s highest court docket on Wednesday overturned the homicide and baby cruelty convictions towards a person whose toddler sonfor hours, saying the jury noticed proof that was “extraordinarily and unfairly prejudicial.”
Justin Ross Harris, 41, was convicted in November 2016 on eight counts, together with malice homicide, within the demise of his 22-month-old son, Cooper. A decide, in addition to 32 extra years in jail for different crimes.
The entire Georgia Supreme Courtroom justices agreed that there was ample proof to help Harris’ convictions, however the majority opinion written by Chief Justice David Nahmias says that a lot of the proof having to do with Harris’ sexual actions should not have been admitted and should have improperly affect the jury. The ruling signifies that Harris is entitled to a brand new trial on the homicide and baby cruelty prices towards him.
The excessive court docket upheld Harris’ convictions on three intercourse crimes dedicated towards a 16-year-old lady that Harris had not appealed.
The Cobb County District Legal professional’s workplace, which prosecuted the case, and a lawyer for Harris didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark Wednesday.
Prosecutors argued that Harris was sad in his marriage and deliberately killed his son to free himself. To help this principle, they introduced in depth proof of extramarital sexual actions that he engaged in, together with exchanging sexually express messages and graphic photographs with girls and women and assembly a few of them for intercourse.
The 6-3 majority opinion says that the jury “heard and noticed an in depth quantity of improperly admitted proof.” It says that as prosecutors painted Harris as a person who “deliberately and maliciously” deserted his baby to die in the summertime warmth, additionally they “introduced a considerable quantity of proof to steer the jury to reply a unique and extra legally problematic query: what sort of man is (Harris)?”
Harris, who moved from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to the Atlanta space for work in 2012, informed police he forgot to drop his son off at day care on the morning of June 18, 2014, driving straight to his job as an online developer for Dwelling Depot with out remembering that Cooper was nonetheless in his automobile seat.
Cooper died after sitting for about seven hours within the again seat of the automobile outdoors his father’s workplace in suburban Atlanta, the place temperatures that day reached at the very least into the excessive 80s.
Protection attorneys described him as a doting father and mentioned the boy’s demise was a tragic accident.
Justice Charlie Bethel wrote a partial dissent that was joined by Justice Shawn LaGrua and Justice Verda Colvin. He mentioned the state was “entitled to introduce, intimately, proof of the character, scope, and extent of the actually sinister motive it ascribed to Harris.” For that motive, Bethel wrote, the trial court docket didn’t abuse its discretion in permitting the challenged proof.
Jurors within the trial heard from a complete of 70 witnesses, 52 of whom testified for the prosecution, reported CBS affiliate WGCL.
Harris’ protection legal professional argued in November that his consumer wasHowever a prosecutor known as Harris a assassin with a “malignant coronary heart,” who killed his baby to flee his household commitments as he sank deeper right into a double lifetime of sexual flirting and affairs with girls he met on-line.
A jury in Glynn County, positioned on the Georgia coast about 60 miles south of Savannah, spent a few month listening to proof within the case and deliberated for 4 days earlier than discovering Harris responsible of all eight counts towards him.
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