Prosecutors simulate temperature in Justin Ross Harris’ car
by Sarah Westwood
July 10, 2014 04:00 AM | 7059 views | 15 15 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Justin Ross Harris appears July 3 in Cobb County Magistrate Court during a probable cause hearing in the death of his 22-month-old-son, Cooper, on June 18. Prosecutors Tuesday tried to recreate in a simulation the conditions under which Cooper died, authorities said. <br> Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Justin Ross Harris appears July 3 in Cobb County Magistrate Court during a probable cause hearing in the death of his 22-month-old-son, Cooper, on June 18. Prosecutors Tuesday tried to recreate in a simulation the conditions under which Cooper died, authorities said.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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MARIETTA —Prosecutors tried to recreate the conditions under which 22-month-old Cooper Harris died last month in a simulation Tuesday, authorities familiar with the investigation said.

Officer Mike Bowman, spokesman for Cobb police, said officials from the district attorney’s office picked up the car and car seat involved in the incident from police at 7:30 Tuesday morning and dropped them back off at 5 p.m.

Bowman said the investigators took the vehicle to perform heat testing and noted Cobb police were not present for the tests.

A source close to the investigation said the prosecutors’ staff pulled Justin Ross Harris’ 2011 Hyundai Tucson into the same spot outside the Home Depot corporate office in which it was parked the day of Cooper’s death.

Fox 5’s I-Team reported investigators “seemingly worked to recreate as many of the exact details of the day of the alleged crime as possible,” using an array of instruments that appeared to measure conditions inside the car in real time —including what temperature the SUV’s interior reached during the day.

Joel Pugh, a Marietta attorney, said there are several reasons prosecutors might conduct these tests themselves.

“In my mind, it just shows the amount of resolve that the DA’s office is using to be sure they get it right on this case,” Pugh said.

Pugh noted, among other possible explanations, the prosecution could be running the simulation in order to verify the timeline of June 18 and to attempt to determine whether Cooper was still alive by the time Harris returned to his car at lunch.

Prosecutors could use their findings as demonstrative evidence in a trial, Pugh said.

“They might have video to show a jury,” Pugh said of prosecutors’ tests. “They might also show views from all angles of car with the size of the car seat and child to show how difficult it would have been for this man not to have noticed his child all day.”

Pugh added the investigators could also be attempting to simulate how high temperatures might have climbed inside the SUV per hour that day.

Dobbins Air Force Reserve Base’s weather service indicates the temperature outside at the time the child was found was 88 degrees, but police have said cars can quickly heat up to temperatures above 100 degrees when left in direct sunlight.

The fact that officials from the district attorney’s office — not detectives — staged the simulation is unusual, Pugh said, but not unheard of.

“In this case, I would applaud prosecutors for doing this.”

Fox 5’s I-Team also reported law enforcement sources have said the toxicology screens on Cooper as part of his autopsy have come back “clean,” with no traces of drugs or sedatives found in the toddler’s system.

Harris, 33, was charged with felony murder and cruelty to children after police say his son died from hyperthermia as a result of being left in the back seat of Harris’ car all day.

Harris has maintained he simply forgot to drop Cooper off at day care before heading into work the morning of June 18.

He is being held at the county jail without bond after a magistrate judge denied his attorney’s bond request at a hearing last week.

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Cobb Lynch Mob
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July 11, 2014
The epidemic of low information voters is far larger than I could have ever imagined.

All these fine people posting here have Harris already convicted, on what they read in the papers, donchaknow?

Then again, these people put Obama into office, twice, no less, and now they are ready to put Hillary into the White House.

So sad that our country's level of common sense and understanding of the legal system have degraded so far in recent years, as reflected by the comments here from those who have already found Harris guilty, BEFORE he has gone to trial.

bordercollie505
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July 11, 2014
Step back and think of that poor child trying to get out of that seat and screaming his head off as death came nearer and nearer. Meanwhile Dad was in his air conditioned office sexting with other women, not giving his son a thought, except maybe, "has he been there long enough?" If they didn't want their son, think of how quick a small blond young boy would have been adopted. In a day or faster. But the angels were waiting in that car to take him to heaven. There will be no angels waiting for his father.
Leo Frank
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July 11, 2014
Not a fan of the lynch mob mentality going on here. Perhaps Old Mariettans can celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Leo Frank ordeal by breaking Ross Harris out of jail and lynching him from a tree at Frey's Gin?

Let's let the facts and justice play out. Not saying he didn't do it, but let's give the founding fathers' "innocent until proven guilty" thingy a chance here.
ADHD ADD
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July 10, 2014
This guy is a computer person. It is a well known documented medical fact that ADD ADHD personalities are attracted to computer careers.

Having raised an ADD ADHD child to adulthood, I can say without reservation that this tragedy could very well have been the result of adult ADD ADHD. I pray his defense attorney has looked into this possibility.

The cops and DA are clearly grandstanding. Yes, the guy is an imperfect man, as we all are imperfect sinful people, but that in no way makes him an intentional killer. I think the DA will look for classic low information people to place on the jury, the type the DA can easily dazzle with his forensic science and other irrelevant information. So far, the cops and DA have not presented a shred of evidence which even begins to indicated this guy is a cold blooded killer.

Lisa Mc
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July 10, 2014
If someone is prone to forgetting things, whether they have "adult ADD" or not, the onus is on them to take measures to prevent forgetting. I am a forgetful person. I don't even have a smart phone, or a baby, and yet I'm able to program my phone to alert me every time there is something I need to do. So each night at 8 pm the alarm goes off telling me to check that I uploaded my work stuff, because I have until 10 pm to do it, and don't always have it ready at the same time. If I forget I could lose the contract. So each night I check myself at 8 pm to make sure I did the upload. This is not complicated. This guy is able to install an app on his phone for sexting, but chose not to install an app to remind him to take his child to daycare each morning. He can sext all day, and text his wife in the afternoon, but he can't text her each AM when he arrives at daycare? And she doesn't think to call/text him to make sure he dropped the kid off? No excuse. They obviously had a reason to fear this specific thing would happen, at best probably because they've done it before, and apparently took no steps to prevent it. At best it's criminally negligent. If the guy forgot a meeting at his job, his boss would want to know why he didn't have it in his phone or work calendar. Why is a child less important?
Lisa Mc
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July 10, 2014
Also, they don't need any evidence that he's a cold blooded killer. They can put him away for life for criminal negligence and felony murder without any such evidence. Only if they want to upgrade the charges will they need evidence of intent.
cjeanb
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July 11, 2014
The charges do not require premeditation nor intent, just gross negligence. GUILTY
anonymous
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July 10, 2014
I believe this is still a baseless circus of a railroading of an imperfect man who made a horrible mistake, and that cops/DA are throwing their full weight on this case in an effort to demolish this man...just to make sure the public stops saying mean things about them (and the perceived barney fife like initial response/actions). I also hope I am wrong.

One way or the other, they are determined to make this guy look like more than a Dad who made a horrible (and not so uncommon) mistake. They will put the full weight of the government on this man’s back until...at some point, he will plead to some lesser charge (not because he is guilty of murder but, because the jury does not always get it right in which case...things could be worse) . The citizens of Georgia will then get to pay to house this (non-violent) man in prison for a period of time.

The CPD (barney fifes?) and once (nationally) embarrassed DA will then come forth and tell us all about how their great, skill, team work and amazing investigative skills allowed them to put together an "air tight" case that ultimately let them bring this "sexting offender" --"to justice".

Heck, some Cobb legislator may feel the ned to push for legislation that makes sexting within 6 hours of an accident a felony punishable by imprisonment for life and enrollment on the (NEW) "sexting offenders" list which will also be created (a first for the Nation)...cuz' the public wants to know (you know?). They will probably call it "COOPERS LAW"! And maybe even "COOPERS LIST".

At that point we may see a push for the taxpayers to fund more police gear (don’t want to be out gunned!) and perhaps some more SWAT tanks (to patrol the streets to keep them clear of “sexting offenders”). Maybe even a new crime lab facility dedicated to investigating “sexting crimes”(another first in the nation?).

Just Wait
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July 10, 2014
You obviously have some serious issues with law enforcement. If the police are Barney Fifes, you must be Gomer. Only Gomer would believe that the police and DA picked this man to beat up on over a "tragic mistake." I'm sorry for the ticket you got for no reason or the time you were arrested on trumped up charges, but I think I'll wait until the process works through the courts to take sides.
anna marie bowen
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July 10, 2014
anonymous, you really don't have a clue, do you? you wasted a lot of quotes to show that. this is a horrible situation, whether by accident (how stupid is he if by accident) or by intent, and the sexting is a small part. why that bothers you so badly says a lot about you.
anonymous
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July 10, 2014
Good luck with that
Guess What
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July 10, 2014
WOW! Really? It doesnt sound strange at all to you that this man SEARCHED ONLINE, Death in a HOT CAR!! How long does it take to DIE IN A CAR!! HE AND HIS WIFE?????????????? Explain that please...no one cares he was a pervert online in adult chat rooms, he also visited a chat room and STAYED there for a while about being CHILD FREE! I think he was TIRED of caring for a young child and did exactly what CASEY ANTHONY did to poor little Caylee and I also think he is GOING TO GET OFF WITH MURDER!
Cal Kelley
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July 10, 2014
This post is absurd. They are doing their jobs and rightfully so. This man is obviously a sick puppy and it needs to be investigated. He has demonstrated absolute ignorance and immorality. He is at the least, questionable. Let them find out if he is right or not...It never hurts to investigate the death of a little child.
Zephaniah Scadde
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July 10, 2014
Looks like anonymous (is that short for sexting offenders anonymous?) has all the bases covered. Regardless of the outcome they can jump up and down when this is all over and shout about how smart they are. If this guy is convicted on whatever charge it was because of the eeeevil police. If he is acquitted it will be because he is an imperfect soul who just had that one unlucky day (poor lost Ross). Somehow I think that this person may be a little closer to the Harris clan than they care to admit. Hmmmm.
anonymous
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July 10, 2014
anna marie, that "sexting" was even a part of the "evidence" presented in the probable cause hearing is not small. That it was a part of the presentation made by the state should be making you ask why they are bringing such irrelevant salaciouness into this case at all.

If you were being charged with similar crimes, you would probably agree that there is no reason for them to tell everyone about how wildly you enjoy your "close" relations with farm animals during your free time...not that it makes hill of beans difference in whether or not you committed a crime. But, we both know that a whole lot of people are not gonna care whether you are actually guilty or not of the crime you have been charged with committing...they won't care if you rot or roast. That's just the way the prosecutors and the police want citizens to feel...it makes their job easier. Fairness: no where to be found.
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