‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 3: Leanna Harris: Once implicated, never charged


Leanna Harris’s divorce from her husband became final last month, and she is now known as Leanna Taylor. She remains an enigmatic figure in the tragic death of her 22-month-old son, Cooper: who is this woman who married Justin Ross Harris and then, later, gave birth to their only son?

Much of the world decided Taylor was involved in her son’s death because of her now-famous question to her husband the night he was arrested: “Did you say too much?”

And Cobb police insinuated on more than one occasion that Taylor might have had a role in the death. But Taylor has never been charged with any crime and, according to her lawyer, will be a key witness for her ex-husband when the defense team mounts its case. The attorney, Lawrence Zimmerman, says Taylor had always believed that Cooper’s death was an accident, and she still believes that today.

Episode 3 of Breakdown traces the couple’s meeting and marriage, and then it takes a legal turn to explore the question: what is criminal negligence? Harris is charged with one count of malice murder – meaning he intended to kill his son – and two counts of felony murder. The latter two counts hinge on the somewhat slippery definition of criminal negligence. The AJC’s Bill Rankin talks with prosecutors and defense attorneys about negligence and the role it will play in Harris’ prosecution.