Ten minutes before he last saw his son alive, Justin Ross Harris responded sympathetically to a post written by a mother who seemed to regret having children, according to prosecutors.
“I love my son and all,” Harris wrote on the morning of June 18, 2014. “But we both need escapes.”
By that day’s end the Home Depot web developer would be charged with murdering his 22-month-old son by intentionally locking him inside his SUV.
The latest revelation in a case that’s attracted national attention is one Harris’ defense team sought to suppress Monday during a final round of motions hearings.
Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore moved to have all evidence of client’s extramarital dalliances ruled inadmissible, arguing it’s irrelevant to the charges Harris faces.
“In a nutshell, they’re arguing that any explicit sexual communications or acts constitutes evidence of murder,” Kilgore said. “From what we’ve seen, there’s no evidence of him wanting to commit violence, no history of neglect or indifference.”
The prosecution has long contended that Harris had grown unhappy in his marriage and was engaged in sexually charged relationships with numerous women via his smart phone, even boasting that he was unfaithful and Leanna knew it. Harris longed for the freedom of a childless life, the state alleges.
His wife, Leanna, filed for divorce 10 days ago.
“A request for nude photos is not evidence of an intent to kill,” said Kilgore, detailing some of the state’s discovery evidence. Prosecutors also have evidence that Harris was with a prostitute in 2013.
“It’s unrelated, uncharged, completely unconnected,” he said.
But Cobb Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring countered that “often times, actions speak a lot louder than words.”
“I think that’s what this case is going to show,” Boring said.
Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley said she’ll rule on the defense motions within the next two weeks. She did, however, give Harris’ team a small victory Monday morning. Jurors will not hear about two insurance policies, totaling $27,000, that Harris had taken out on his late son, Cooper.
“Admittedly, this was not the main motive … but it was a factor when you look at all the pieces of the puzzle in this case,” Boring said.
Harris’ trial is scheduled to begin April 11.
A complete account of Monday’s hearing will be posted later today on myajc.com.