Arraignment delayed for dad in hot car death

Thursday’s scheduled arraignment of the Cobb County father charged with intentionally leaving his young son inside a hot car to die has been delayed.

Cobb District Attorney spokeswoman Kim Isaza confirmed the postponement and said the two sides have yet to settle on a new date.

The delay allows D.A. Vic Reynolds more time to decide whether to seek the death penalty for Ross Harris, who is charged with one count of malice murder, two counts of felony murder and two counts of child cruelty.

But that decision will have to be made by the arraignment, a legal formality in which the charges are read aloud.

“It’s standard practice to announce it by then,” said Dunwoody attorney Esther Panitch.

Harris will have the opportunity to plead not guilty but there’s no requirement he do so. Defendants are often not even in the courtroom for arraignments.

Two-year-old Cooper Harris died June 18 in a Home Depot office parking lot where his father works. Ross Harris was supposed to take his son to day care on his way to work that day but, after stopping for breakfast at a Chick-fil-A, he strapped Cooper into his car seat and drove instead to his office, leaving the child inside the family’s Hyundai Tucson. Temperatures inside the SUV rose to more than 100 degrees during the day, police say.