Police: Much more to Harris case
by Haisten Willis
June 24, 2014 04:00 AM | 15643 views | 13 13 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Justin Ross Harris
Justin Ross Harris
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CUMBERLAND — Nearly a week after police say a 22-month-old died after being left in a hot SUV for seven hours, a police spokesman says what he’s learned about the case is shocking.

“As time went on from the initial response to the scene, it has since become very apparent that this investigation is going in a different direction,” said Cobb Police Sgt. Dana Pierce.

The investigation of Marietta’s Justin Ross Harris, 33, continues. Police say Harris left his toddler son, Cooper Harris, in a hot car while working as a web developer at The Home Depot headquarters on June 18.

Pierce said that the initial case revolved around a heat-related medical condition. He said that’s still part of the focus, but not all of it.

“There is so much more that has shed light on what’s going on,” Pierce said. “What I learned from investigators shocked my conscience.”

Pierce did not elaborate on any details of what he’s learned, stressing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The Cobb Medical Examiner’s office confirmed Monday the autopsy of Cooper Harris has been completed, though it isn’t known when it will be released.

“As of right now, we’re not releasing any information,” said Mike Gerhard, operations manager for the Cobb Medical Examiner.

According to Pierce, the autopsy should be released by the end of this week.

“We expect this coming week the Cobb County Medical Examiner’s office to determine, along with input from Cobb County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit, to really validate the manner and cause of death,” Pierce said. “Our two agencies will be working together to confirm that.”

Harris has been charged with cruelty to children and, because the child was pronounced dead at the scene, with felony murder, according to Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds.

“Felony murder is where you commit a felony crime,” Reynolds has said. “My goal may not have been to kill you, but the results of my actions caused the death.”

After being denied bond June 19, Harris will remain in jail at least until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for July 15.

Though Cobb police originally reported Harris had dropped off another child before going to work, Pierce confirmed Monday Harris only had one child.

“That was the information relayed to me by detectives (at the scene) and that has turned out to be false,” Pierce said.

A Change.org petition urging Reynolds to drop the charges against Harris had drawn 10,532 supporters as of Monday evening and a YouCaring.com account has raised $20,258 for the family.

Some in the legal community, such as Marietta attorney Tom Browning, have also said they were shocked by the charges.

But Pierce’s words imply the public doesn’t know all of the important details about the case.

“There is much more to this,” he said.

Comments
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anonymous
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June 25, 2014
Vic Reynolds likely has just cause to hold Justin Ross Harris. We don't know those facts, so quit donating money to a guy who could definitely be guilty of hurting his son or neglecting him.

Justin Ross Harris, judging from the mug shot (taken the day his son was found dead), is NOT telling the whole story. A female witness said that she believed Harris was more concerned with his well being than his son's and that Harris' behavior appeared "staged". For someone to put their reputation on the line to say that -- and repeat it in court -- she has a lot to lose.

I'm betting that one of these scenarios has occurred: 1. Justin Ross Harris beat his son that day; 2. Justin Ross Harris is on medication for a mental condition and didn't take his medication that day (as in ADHD, bi-polar disorder, etc.); or 3. Justin Ross Harris doesn't have the mental capacity to raise kids -- he thought he would teach the kid a lesson by leaving him in the hot car all day.
whatever, anonymous
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June 25, 2014
Wow, did you just ask, "why does the Harris man have to stay locked up the whole time until the investigation finishes?"

Um, probably because they have probable cause that you are not aware of yet that implicate him as a murderer? The same probable cause they already presented to a judge that agreed he should not be released?! They should set him free now, why? So he can potentially flee the country?
Mom comment
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June 25, 2014
I lived right around the corner from HD store support for 10 years. The hours this guy claimed to be at work did not match the work hours. No one in IT works those hours. I had to time taking my kids to school in order to avoid the HD rush to work. Folks do not get out at 4:00 either, not since Blank and Marcus left. Although it is better since Nardelli left, he told everyone he expect them to work his hours 80 or so ( only thing is they didn't get paid like him).

I do know that going to work at HD with the amount of stubble this guy has on his face , is not acceptable in that culture. I had neighbors and friends in the executive offices. My question from day one has been did this guy even go to work that day? Was this one of those guys telling the working someplace myth? Their are many many cars coming in and out of those parking decks all day. Vendors visit for product meetings. Vendors fill up two hotels, check out and drive their rental cars over to make sales meetings. In addition to local vendor reps nd other employees going in and out.

Panera is really the only restaurant within lunch walking distance. Today, I walked from Chickfillet ( tire store in front) to Panera while getting tires. It takes 15 min. Each way dues to cross walk placement and lights. people either have to eat in Cafe on site or drive to eat lunch.
diaper simple
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June 25, 2014
its very simple...the diaper was not soiled.
whatever, anonymous
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June 24, 2014
Get a clue how the system works. You can capitalize "REYNOLDS" all you want, it doesn't mean he has had a thing to do with any charges filed so far.

Here's a lesson for you, pay attention.

The arresting agency goes to a Magistrate Judge and states probable cause why they want the charges they want. The Magistrate Judge either agrees or disagrees.

Then the case goes to the D.A.'s office after the investigation is completed, for formal charges. What part of "this investigation isn't completed yet" are you not getting? It hasn't even gone to the D.A.'s office yet.
Cindi S
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June 24, 2014
But why does the Harris man have to stay locked up the whole time until the investigation finishes? Didn't his family say they wanted him to come out and be with them? If he is such a shockingly horrible person, wouldn't they consider him better off there in the jail?

This leads the public to only conclude that Mr. Harris is just a forgetful person involved with a tragic accident and that someone in an political position is victimizing for personal gain.

Like for a publicity stunt or ego trip...
Reynolds Defender?
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June 25, 2014
"Whatever, anonymous": You are a very angry woman!!! You need to pay attention to your angry outbursts and get medical attention!!! People who can think (instead of "feel") know that the D.A., Vic Reynolds, is holding Justin Ross Harris for very good reasons!!!
anonymous
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June 24, 2014
totally agree. Vic is a consummate professional. He would never have charged something he didn't believe the law and facts would support. In addition, no judge is going to have denied bond without some solid evidence to support those charges.
Sensationalism
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June 24, 2014
I wish Pierce would keep quiet. Why in the world is he making comments at all, with his personal opinions? It's ridiculous. He's already admitting that he made an incorrect quote about Ross dropping off another child, which was totally false. Maybe that could be a wakeup call to Pierce to stop talking about this to the media? That one comment about 'dropping off his other child' already manipulated so many people's minds about this tragedy. Who knows if these quotes are being taken out of context? "What I learned from investigators shocked my conscience"...could that mean that Pierce was shocked to hear what the child went through in the car? We don't know, but the media certainly manipulates it in another direction.
anonymous
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June 24, 2014
Agreed.
Shouldn't judge
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June 24, 2014
Maybe people rushed to judgement of Vic Reynolds. You might have wanted to wait and donated your money to the poor man who has had 18 surgeries after being shot at the Fedex facility. You may be paying for the defense of someone who is lying. I guess we will see! Hold judgement and stop donating your money!
anongujdjgd
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June 24, 2014
The whole government in cobb is corrupt. From Tim Lee, to the board of ethics, to the police, to the sheriff's department, to the D.As, to the courts. Let this innocent man out and lock the Cobb government in.
anonymous
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June 24, 2014
Given that REYNOLDS told us all that the investigation was NOT OVER...but then RUSHED to charge Harris to the max, I would say Mr. Reynolds has gotten all he deserves.

The whirlwind of criticism was of REYNOLDS own making. Too bad if he feels unloved right now.

He better be able to back things up when it comes time to make the rubber meet the road. People are tired of bully district attorney/police behavior.
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