CORRECTION: Jaynie Meadows did not have a drug problem. She testified at the trial that it was her boyfriend at the time who had a drug problem. A previous version of this story was incorrect.
This is a running account of the Justin Ross Harris hot car death trial. Harris is accused of murdering his 22-month-old son Cooper by leaving him in a hot SUV for 7 hours on June 18, 2014. Court is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.
Court is adjourned for the day. Testimony will resume Friday at 8:30 a.m.
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
Meadows prepared a letter for Harris and asked Kilgore to give it to him after he was arrested.
“In this letter, you very clearly tell Ross that you know from a very close stance how much (he) adored Cooper,” Kilgore said.
Yes, Meadows said.
Ross got mad about Cooper but not at Cooper, Meadows said.
“It was more him being mad at something happening,” she said.
Kilgore asked if she was mad at Harris.
“No,” Meadows responded. “What happened is terrible but I’m just answering as truthfully as possible.”
Harris talked about being together, Meadows said.
Kilgore pointed out Meadows was upset with Harris because she found out he was seeing other women.
“That doesn’t change what I’m saying though,” she responded.
Harris would sometimes get emotional about his and Meadows’ relationship when they spoke on the phone.
He told Meadows she was the only one, that there were other girls.
“He told me he loved me every day,” Meadows said.
“If (Cooper) wasn’t in the picture, I probably would have left L by now,” Harris wrote to her.
Kilgore said that she told detectives Harris told her his marriage had been getting better in recent weeks. She said she couldn’t remember.
Harris and she were on the outs on the weeks leading up to Cooper’s death. Yes, at least through texts, Meadows said.
He wasn’t calling every day either.
On June 13, she asked if he hated her.
Harris responded: “Babe not at all. Just miss you.”
The next day they texted about Jaynie’s boyfriend owing her $1,000 because he had a drug problem.
“Jaynie that is insane, get your money and leave or just cut your losses and leave,” Harris wrote to her.
The following is a text conversation between Meadows and Harris on May 28, 2014,
Meadows: “Call me when you see this, hey”
Harris: “What’s wrong?”
M: “A lot but you never called so”
H: “Honey, you dropped me and don’t talk to me for weeks at a time. I can’t drop everything at work and call you.”
M: “You used to.”
PARAPHRASE: Well Jaynie you gave up on me without explanation so I moved on. that hurt”
M: “You moved on. What does that even mean? You’re done with me?”
H: “No I’m not done with you…”
PARAPHRASE: She said she’d leave him alone, and he said don’t do that.
H: “Did y’all have a fight?” (In reference to Jaynie’s boyfriend at the time)
M: “Not exactly. We’re just so different. I don’t feel like me anymore. I want to be loved on every chance I get….I’m always so afraid to make him made or something.”
PARAPHRASE: She said she felt stuck and Harris told her she wasn’t and could always leave.
Harris sent Meadows photos of he and Cooper doing things together like when they were on vacation at the beach and at the Braves game.
Harris conveyed to Meadows that his wife caught him cheating.
The prosecution said did Ross tell you if it wasn’t for Cooper he would leave Leanna? Yes, Meadows said.
That’s not exactly what you told detectives, lead defense attorney Maddox Kilgore pointed out. He said he wouldn’t leave the marriage because of Cooper.
“He loved that little boy more than anything,” Kilgore said. “He wouldn’t do that to Cooper.”
Yes, Meadows responded.
“You were really good friends,” Kilgore said. “You referred to him as your best friend.”
Yes, Meadows said.
They talked about friends, family and about a medical problem Meadows had.
“Ross was supportive,” Kilgore said. Yes, Meadows said.
Court is back from break. The defense is cross examining Meadows.
The court is taking an afternoon break.
She stopped talking to him again in the beginning of June but finally responded to his message on June 13.
She wrote: “Do you hate me now/”
Harris responded: “Babe not at all.”
On June 15, 2014, he told her his AC is out.
On June 17, he messaged her again but she didn’t respond to early text.
Harris said: “That makes me sad. You’re gone again.”
Harris sent Meadows at least one photo of his wife.
Sometimes he couldn’t talk to Meadows because he was with his wife, which made her upset.
Meadows said she cut off Kik again on May 18. On May 28, Meadows said: “Call me when you see this.”
Harris responded: “What’s wrong?”
She said, “A lot.”
Harris said it hurt that she stopped talking to him and that he moved on. But, he later said, he wasn’t done with Meadows once they started talking again.
On May 4, he said his wife wasn’t at home and wanted Meadows to visit.
The next day he wrote, “You’re officially off that radar.”
Meadows cut off Kik on May 8.
He tried to message her again on March 9 and 10. He wrote, “And you’re just gone with zero explanation.”
He tried again on May 11.
A couple days later she finally responded to him, asking Harris to call her. Up through June, Harris would call her.
Harris told her to call him on his work phone. If she called on his personal number, he told Meadows to block her number.
The guy she was seeing at the time found out about her texts to Harris, who was unhappy because she cut him off.
“Tell you how sorry I am and that giving you up isn’t easy,” Meadows read from a text Harris sent her after that.
On March 29, 2014, Harris wrote to her, “You dropped me so fast with no explanation.”
Similar texts from him continued into May.
As it got closer to June, contact between them became less frequent.
“He said, love you, honey,” Meadows read from a transcript of their texts. He said, “You’re gone.”
It was around the time that Meadows said she had begun dating somebody.
Meadows says that Harris would complain about his marriage about once a week or once every two weeks. She says he told her that "if his situation was different he would be with me instead of her."
On some days Harris would text Meadows constantly through the day. He repeatedly sent messages telling her that he loved her.
Harris would talk to her in the car on his blue tooth through the SUV’s stereo system. Meadows said she could often hear Cooper babbling in the background.
About his marriage, Harris told Meadows that they were having problems. They were having financial problems, she testified. Harris said his marriage was falling apart.
He talked about Cooper in a great way.
“He just talked about how much he loved him and how he would never hurt him,” and sent her photos of Cooper, Meadows testified.
They were playing a game called two lies and a truth.
“No, they’re all three truths,” Meadows said. “I was kind of taken aback by it.”
But they continued to communicate sexually.
Meadows and Harris met up in August 2013. She didn’t really think he’d show up.
They met up at a store, picking up some things for her friend who had just moved into a dorm.
They kissed but it didn’t go any further. He had to pick up Cooper. She was 18 at the time.
Their communication eventually became sexual and they send sexually explicit photos. Harris also sent photos, at least one was sexually explicit. He also sent her three songs that he played on his guitar.
“I guess I fell in love with him,” Meadows said.
Harris told her that he loved her.
Harris wanted to meet up with her but she didn’t.
When asked why not Meadows responded: “I was an 18-year-old kid, I was sketched out by the whole idea, I guess.”
The state calls Jaynie Meadows to the witness stand. She’s a college student.
Meadows started talking to Harris in May 2013. She was 18 at the time.
“I just had a really bad breakup,” Meadows said. “Ross just kind of showed up at the time I need I guess.”
They met on the Scout dating app. He messaged her first.
He called her on the phone and they talked for three hours. Harris told her he was 25.
Some of his stories seemed farfetched, Smith said.
Harris said he met or played with NSYNC.
On the morning of Cooper’s death, at around 5:30 a.m., Smith texted Harris saying she wanted to participate in fellatio. He asked if she could come do it to him that day.
“Did he ever tell ya that his child was going to be in the car?” the defense attorney asked.
No, Smith responded.
The entire communication at the Braves game was the fact that Harris sent a photo, they thought it was weird he was near one of her friends and that was it. There was no sexual communication.
On April 25, 2016, they started communicating at 4:39 p.m. and Harris told her he was taking Cooper to a Braves game. He sent her pictures from the Braves game, including he and Cooper.
Smith said she actually saw a friend of hers in one of the photos he sent.
“OMG, cuteness overload,” Smith texted in response to the photo of Cooper.
The defense is now cross examining Smith.
Smith said she met with detectives on July 10, 2014. She said that a friend called the police for her.
“Ross had never talked about leaving his wife,” the defense said.
“Correct,” Smith said.
She said Harris was big on exaggerating things, a big talker, make himself sound more interesting.
Harris talked to her about “problems in the bedroom” that he was having with his wife. They continued texting up to the day Cooper died. They were sexting the morning Harris left Cooper strapped in the car seat in his SUV.
They sexted for a couple months and spoke on the phone once or twice.
She met him in person in a parking lot off of Interstate 75. He drove to where she was and then she got in his car. They engaged in sexual acts.
She at some point told her about Cooper.
The prosecution calls its next witness, Elizabeth Smith, who is 24.
Smith met him through Whisper in January 2014 and then continued their conversations on Kik. She was 21.
They talked almost every day, Smith said.
Sims showed him pictures of some injuries.
Harris said, “Oh, I like those.”
You sent a picture of your panties and that’s what he was responding to, the defense attorney said. The prosecution rebutted saying the injuries depicted were in the same photo as the panties.
There was a point when Sims told Harris she was having some personal issues.
In July 2014, she told a detective that she exaggerated some things when talking to Harris. She said that wasn’t uncommon for her; Sims texted other people too.
“It wasn’t all lies,” Sims said.
Harris never told her he had a child.
The defense is now cross examining Sims.
Harris and Sims never met in person. There is a lengthy text sex exchange in March. It’s very clearly two parties engaged in chat, the defense attorney said. Yes, she said.
“You would agree Ross never forced you to do anything that you didn’t already want to be engaged in,” the attorney said. “Correct,” Sims replied.
In December 2013, Sims and Harris were chatting pretty much every day up through Christmas Eve.
She tried to have non-sex conversations.
“He would just kind of blow it off or change the subject or make it sexual,” Sims said.
Sims stopped using Kik in June 2014.
He mentioned he talked with other women and would meet up with them. Sims said Harris told her he had been caught cheating, but she didn’t know the details.
The prosecution has called its next witness, Molly Sims, a 22-year-old who Harris sexted with.
“We met on a dating app on, Scout,” Sims said. She was 18 years old. Like the other women Harris texted, they eventually started talking on the Kik app.
Harris said he had a wife.
“We’d talk about everyday things and it would get sexual sometimes,” Sims said. They sent nude photos to each other.
This went on for two years. She got a boyfriend in December of 2013 and things trailed off with Harris.
He would sometime reach out to her and she wouldn’t respond.
Court is back in session.
The court is in recess for lunch.
The prosecution on redirect asked how old she was when they first started chatting. She was 18. Swindell said told her Harris was 26.
In May 2014, Harris never mentioned his wife or son to her.
She messaged him, and said “hi” He responded, “Hi sexy.”
She sent a picture of her hair and he said looks nice. He then texted “I haven’t seen you in so long.”
She sent a photo of her face. He responded, “cutie.”
“Want to see my new (penis) pics?,” Harris texted her. He sent two pictures of his penis.
The defense said it was trying to establish Swindell’s credibility.
“You’re embarrassed about all of this aren’t you?,” he asked. Yes, she said.
“This isn’t really who you are is it,” he said. No, she replied.
On June 15, 2014, they were talking about making plans for July.
Swindell testified she was keeping this information secret from her boyfriend. The next day, she sent Harris close ups of her genitals and told him she was having a “physiological reaction” in her private areas when she was thinking about the two of them.
She reached out to him on June 18 and said she wanted to have sex with him.
Swindell sent Harris some fully nude photos and some close ups of the genital area.
She testified she was interested in having a sexual encounter with Harris again and let him know so in the 2014 chats they had.
Swindell was living with her boyfriend off and on at the time.
She asked Harris if she could move in with him as a joke.
How did the recommunication start in 2014?, the defense asked. Swindell said she wasn’t sure.
The messaging begins again on May 29, 2014. They communicated mostly through Kik, a messaging app.
The defense is now cross examining Swindell.
She was in college when she and Harris started texting in 2012.
“Do you have any concrete recollection of when she hooked up with Harris? the defense asked. Late 2012, she said.
Was this something unique that perhaps stands out in your mind, or was this a common,” experience? he asked
“It wasn’t common but it wasn’t extraordinary,” she said.
Harris sent her a picture of his penis.
On June 15, 2014, they had a chat conversation.
He said, “No AC and kill me.”
She said, “I know how that feels, I’m sorry.”
He responded, “I’m dying.”
They had an exchange on June 18, the day of Cooper’s death, at 1:17 p.m. She sent the first message on that day. It took Harris 10 seconds to respond.
Swindell said they began texting again in 2014.
The prosecution called its next witness, Alexandra Swindell, who is 23 years old.
They exchanged sexts and nude photos. Harris tried to get her to meet up, which they eventually did.
“He picked me up from my dorm room and we drove to some back road and parking and talking and kissing and eventually I performed oral sex on him and then he drove me home,” Swindell testified.
This took place around the end of 2012.
He told her he had a girlfriend and eventually that they were engaged. He never said he was married or mentioned Cooper, Swindell said.
Another Whisper post from a user named Magnolia Blonde: “I can make myself orgasm in less than 10 seconds with my vibrator,” overlaid on a photo of a rabbit.
Harris responded at 7 43 a.m. “Nice … I bet sex with you is amazing.”
She responded, “lol I’ve been told so.”
“Sadly, I can’t experience it,” at 7:50 a.m. “Would be nice.”
The end of this exchange – that took place after 9 a.m. – would be going on when he was at Chick-fil-A with Cooper, the prosecution said.
Regarding applications that delete content, Smith did not find any such apps on Harris’ phone. No one is suggesting Harris was hiding any information from anyone, the defense attorney said.
“All of the information was there,” Smith testified. There is no evidence that Harris deleted any messages.
Of all of the messaging that is going on, there is an at least 18 minute gap between his activity while at Chick-fil-A with Cooper. He is not actively messaging during that time when he is having breakfast with Cooper.
On Whisper, there is no time on when a message is read, the defense attorney said. He’s trying to establish what time Harris was interacting with people on the app.
From an exchange Harris had with someone the morning of Cooper’s death.
“My wife gets upset when I want to go out with friends. I love my son but we both need escapes,” Harris wrote.
“Maybe that’s our issue too. I need a break from ‘love,’” the person responded.
“Agreed” Harris said.
He sent those messages while his son was strapped into his car seat in the Home Depot parking lot.
Harris went to weatherpredictor.com on June 17, 2014, at 9:12 a.m., the day before Cooper died.
The prosecution is re-examining Det. Smith.
Smith testified that he did not see an actual application for a passport for Cooper, just the Google search.
Harris’ Googled an attempt for someone to spell gonorrhea.
Court is back from break.
Court is out for morning break.
On June 18, 2014, the day Cooper died, Leanna Taylor (his ex-wife) texted Harris “Get to work ok?”
He replied, “Yup yup. … Were (sic) gonna go to the early moving so I should be home close to 7.”
“When are you getting my buddy” he texted his wife at 3:16 p.m. the day of Cooper’s death
That’s the last message Harris sent his wife.
On May 30, 2014, at 11:57 p.m., “I guess everyone has there (sic) breaking point every once in a while,” a girl posted.
“My breaking point is pretty low right now,” Harris responded.
“It certainly doesn’t say I’m going to kill my son,” the defense attorney said. “It’s not sexual in nature. It doesn’t reference his son at all. There’s no indication that Mr. Harris is attempting to use his son as a prop to get women in this conversation.”
“No one says that they hate their son in this conversation. No one says that their son is holding them back from anything,” the defense attorney said.
“I woke up at 5:30 (a.m.), kill me,” Harris said in response to one post. The poster responded that sounds horrible.
“Well I have a son, that joker decided that ‘hey I’m gonna get up early,’” Harris wrote.'
Harris also said in the conversation "he's awesome," in reference to his son.
Harris’ Whisper comments come up as “unknown.”
Another image says, “Need to wake up..Can’t get out of bed lol.”
Harris responds, “Why still in bed? Late night?”
Another user asks if you like tall girls.
Harris responded, “I do but I’m not very single. Y’all girls are sexy.”
He never said anything about leaving his wife, the defense pointed out.
“Teachers assign you homework and don’t check it why the (expletive) did you give it,” a teenaged user posted.
“Because you won’t practice the work if none is given to you,” Harris replied.
Again, the post wasn’t sexual in nature. The defense is pointing this out to show that Harris posted on all sorts of topics, not just sexual ones.
They are now looking at Harris’ Whisper messages.
“There is quite a bit of discussion about sexual topics,” the defense said.
One image was posted by a different user saying, “I wonder what a coffee enema would do to someone haha.”
“There are actually people that do this like 3 or 4 times a day. It’s crazy to me but they love it,” Harris replied.
June 18, 2014, shortly after midnight, Harris visited a government website about obtaining passports.
Smith said yesterday he was unaware that Harris had been planning a cruise with Cooper and his now ex-wife Leanna.
The defense did a current Google search of that phrase in 2016. It also Googled a question about passport fees for children, which Harris Googled.
They are now looking at Harris’ web history.
Harris Googled, “Why is it hazy when it’s hot.”
Smith said he extracts information from mobile devices but not computers. His job was to create an analysis report of an iPad and two iPhones from Harris and his now ex-wife.
Is it unusual to request that two police officers be reassigned from their patrol to come review the content of his analysis for 27 days? the defense attorney asked. I have seen that occur before, Smith said.
Smith said he primarily does surveillance video, supporting all of the criminal investigative units. So it could be that the patrol officers were asked to review the analysis because Smith had a heavy workload.
The defense is resuming cross examination of detective Ronson "RB" Bridges Smith, who works in the Cobb police high tech crime squad.
Court is now in session.