Less than a month since being found guilty on all counts for the murder of his 22-month-old son Cooper, Justin Ross Harris was sentenced today to life in prison without parole. At the sentencing today, Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark said Harris "intentionally and unnecessarily" was responsible for "wanton, severe physical and mental pain and agony" in his son’s death. Harris had been convicted on eight counts related to the death of the infant, whom he left in the back of his car for seven hours to die on a sweltering Georgia summer day in 2014.
Though he presented himself as a devoted suburban Dad, Harris led a double life and was in fact a serial adulterer. He solicited prostitutes, had affairs and random flings with women he met online, and indulged in sexting, in two separate cases, with underage girls. At today’s hearing, prosecutor Chuck Boring said Harris was "driven by his own selfishness." It was the prosecution’s contention that Harris killed Cooper so he would no longer be shackled to the responsibilities of family life.
On the morning of June 18, 2014, Harris packed his son into the back of his Hyundai Tucson and after getting breakfast at Chick-fil-A, bypassed Cooper’s daycare and went straight to work. The boy was left in the back of the car, in the parking lot of Harris’s job at the Home Depot corporate offices in suburban Atlanta. Harris’ office allegedly had a view of the car, which sat under direct sunlight all day in the pounding Georgia heat. At 4 p.m. he left work to go to a movie, and it was then that he says he discovered his son’s dead body. The official cause of Cooper’s death was ruled hyperthermia.
[Photo: NBC News]