Harris watched hot-car video, was warned by wife about dangers

Before his son Cooper died, Ross Harris watched a video of a veterinarian describing what it's like inside a hot car and called up an article on what prison life is like, the lead detective in the case testified Monday.

When questioned by police just hours after his son’s death, Harris let them know he’d recently watched a video of a vet advocating not to leave pets inside hot cars. “That would be terrible if my son was in the car,” Harris told Cobb County Police Det. Phil Stoddard.

On Monday, prosecutors played that video to the jury. It was titled, "How hot does it get inside a parked car?" The prosecution's apparent aim is to convince jurors that Harris wanted to make sure Cooper would die when he left him in his car on June 18, 2014. Harris' lawyers said his son's death was a horrible accident.

After 10 minutes, with all four windows cracked an inch, the vet says it’s “almost unbearable” inside the car. He holds up a large temperature gauge, which reads 110 degrees. Twenty-five minutes in, the gauge read 113 degrees and the vet said, “Everything in my body is saying, ‘Get out. Get out. Get out.’”

The vet said he wanted to last 30 minutes inside his car and he did. By that time, his clothes were drenched in sweat. “This kills and it’s a lousy way to die,” he said. After a half hour, it was 116 degrees inside the car.

Harris viewed the video just five days before Cooper’s death, Stoddard said.

In January 2013, Harris’ then-wife, Leanna Taylor, emailed her husband a message that said, “Don’t be this dad,” Stoddard testified. The message contained warnings about leaving a child in a hot car. Harris received two emails from advocacy groups warning about the danger in April and May of 2014, the detective said.

Stoddard also testified that Harris previously conducted a Google search of what prison was really like. He found an article accessed by Harris that had “five things men should know.” Among those were: You have to join a gang to survive in prison; prisoners receive better medical car that most you do; and it’s unlikely you’ll get raped in prison.

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