This is a running account of the Justin Ross Harris murder trial. He is accused of murdering his toddler son Cooper by leaving him in a hot SUV in June 2014.
Court is done for the day. Testimony will start up again at 8:30 a.m.
You’re the one who provided Harris the link to the child free chat, Kilgore said. Yes, Hall said.
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
Recommended for you
Boring is asking Hall more questions.
Hall said he’s not sure if he told detectives about the thread.
Since that time, Hall has chosen not to talk to the state since he was first called to testify by the defense.
The next piece of evidence is another chat from June 16, 2014, where Harris referenced Orange is the New Black again.
On April 28, 2014, they again discuss where to go to lunch. “There’s nothing unusual about that,” Kilgore said. No, Hall responded.
So r/childfree – the Reddit thread – exists, Hall said in the chat later that day.
“You don’t subscribe to that philosophy do you?” Kilgore said. No, Hall said.
Harris wasn't for it, Hall said.
Within 20 seconds of you putting that out on the chat, Harris responded "grossness," Kilgore said.
There was another chat on June 7, 2014, where Harris mentioned Orange is the New Black, a show on Netflix about women in prison.
In another chat, June 12, 2014, there is a photo of burgers on a grill.
“I’m hanging with the lady and my boy Saturday,” Harris wrote just days before Cooper died.
In the chat, Hall teases Ross because he’s using a gas grill instead of charcoal.
“When you have a wife and kids, easy is the way to go,” Harris responded.
Kilgore is now discussing a Google chat from June 4, 2014.
Harris said he might go home early during their discussion about what to do for lunch. Harris said he wasn’t going to do lunch with them because he was planning on going home early.
Kilgore showed Hall a Google chat from March 31, 2014.
Harris was talking about hunting for houses in Acworth and Kennesaw. Hall mentioned that Harris would have a really long commute.
“If you pay my son’s private school, I’d gladly live in Buckhead,” Harris wrote.
“I’d live inside the perimeter if the schools were decent,” he also wrote.
On this particular day, nothing unusual about going to lunch together, picking up Ross, going to Publix or running errands, Kilgore said.
“We’d done all of that several times before,” Hall said.
There was also nothing remarkable about Harris suggesting they go see a movie, Kilgore said. No, Hall responded.
Kilgore is now cross examining Hall.
“He liked to brag about (Cooper),” Hall said. Harris was glowing about his son, he testified.
Hall brought up in their Google chats a Reddit thread about living “child free” on April 28, 2014.
Harris’ response was “grossness.” Hall, who has no children, said he didn’t recall that conversation at all.
Hall said that he typically drove to lunch, although Harris did sometimes too.
Harris had interviewed at Chick-fil-A for a different job, which he talked with Hall about a little bit. Hall said Harris was upset that he didn’t get the job.
Did Harris ever seen stressed out about a project? Boring asked. Hall said he can imagine that Harris was stressed at some point about work but didn’t seem to be in the days leading up to Cooper’s death.
Alex Hall is the prosecution’s next witness.
Hall works at Home Depot and knows Harris from college. They became closer once they both started working at Home Depot.
He is one of the partners that joined Harris is joining a web development consulting business.
“We were pretty much all the way there with the legal stuff,” said Hall when asked about how far along their business was. They already had one firm client and some prospective clients.
Hall said he didn’t see Cooper very often.
Court is back in session after an afternoon break.
The theater is a “massive” traffic area, Kilgore said, especially at 4:30 p.m.
Nothing remarkable about them leaving early for the movie, given the traffic, Kilgore said. No, Milling replied.
At 3:44 p.m. on the 18th, Harris talking about carpooling for something the next day to a Habitat for Humanity build, making future plans, Kilgore said.
Milling said he never heard Harris talking about living “child free.”
Milling forgot to tell a detective that they stopped at Home Depot when he was initially interviewed.
“You just forgot,” Kilgore said. Yes, Milling replied.
Harris took Cooper to a company picnic, showing him off to everyone, Milling said.
“He was behaving in a normal way,” the day of Cooper’s death, Kilgore said. Yes, Milling said.
Harris also seemed normal the two weeks leading up to Cooper’s death, according to Milling.
The day before, June 17, also had a lunch discussion on Google chat. Harris’ friend, Alex, said he could drive but needed to stop at Best Buy.
So it wasn’t unusual for them to run errands. Harris also said that day, come get me, like he did the day of Cooper’s death.
Kilgore is now cross examining Milling.
There was nothing unusual at all about their conversation about where to go to lunch, according to Milling. They had it almost every day.
Harris initially said he might pass on lunch because he wanted to leave early for the movie.
Milling said he didn’t find anything about that remarkable.
After eating at Publix, they went to Home Depot so Harris could pick up some lightbulbs.
They drove Harris back to the office. He asked them to drop him off by his car.
Milling said he never witnessed Harris messaging other women or saw any problems with their marriage.
Harris’ friends bought his ticket for him.
“You guys get good seats,” Harris said in the Google chat.
At 4:09 p.m., Harris said he would be at the movie theater “ASAP.”
“Did anything seem off about the defendant that day?” Boring asked. No, Milling said. Harris didn’t seem stressed or sleep deprived.
When his friends picked Harris up for lunch, he got into the back. They went to Publix.
Milling’s wife was going to go to the movie too.
Harris said he was going to be a few minutes late, according to Milling.
Although spouses were welcome to go to the movie, Harris said in the Google chat that Leanna wouldn’t be going “but I don’t care.”
Boring showed Milling copies of their Google chats in the days leading up to Cooper’s death.
They tried to message Harris from the movie theater that the movie was starting.
On June 17, 2014, there is message in the group chat from Harris, asking his friends if they wanted to go see 22 Jump Street. It was Harris’ idea to go to the movie.
Milling was one of the friends that Harris was planning to go to the movies with on the day Cooper died.
There were a lot of times Harris drove his friends to lunch.
Milling said Cooper’s car seat was visible.
Boring asked if Harris ever had trouble hearing in the car. No, Milling said.
“Did he ever seem stressed out about his job?” Boring said.
“Nothing that sticks out, no,” Milling said.
He did not seem stressed out in the days before Cooper’s death, according to Milling.
Milling said he interacted with Harris’ then-wife, Leanna, about 10 or so times.
“Did they appear to have a normal family relationship?” Boring said.
Yes, Milling said.
They communicated at work through Google Hangouts and went to lunch together almost every day.
The prosecution has called its next witness Winston Milling, a software developer at Home Depot.
Milling said he’s been friends with Harris for years. They met at the University of Alabama where they had the same manager.
They occasionally hung out in the buildings where they studied. He, Harris and another friend all had internships at the Home Depot.
They became closer friends in the last couple of years, after Cooper was born.
Court is about to resume after a lunch break.
They would talk about football, guitars, news headlines and other random subjects.
They would fact check random things by Googling a lot.
“As developers, you Google everything,” Moore said. “If you have a question, you don’t ask somebody, you Google it.”
Boring asked Moore if he used Reddit, which he did not.
The morning of
To you, did he ever share with you what he was doing at work in addition to what you can see? Boring said.
No, Moore said. He couldn’t see what Harris was doing on his phone, while Harris was stressed about getting his work done, Boring said. Sexting probably didn’t help him get his work done did it? Boring said. No, Moore said.
That side of Ross would be completely different from what you saw, Boring said. Yes, Moore said.
Moore went with Harris to visit Cooper one time at Little Apron Academy daycare center.
Moore said that he heard Harris talk about Cooper a lot and showed everyone photos of the toddler.
“You never heard him say a bad word ever about his little boy, did you?” Kilgore said. No, Moore responded.
Harris told Moore that they loved Cooper so much that he and his wife would never get divorced.
Kilgore is cross examining Moore.
There is a certain type of person who works in web development at Home Depot, Kilgore said. You have to be smart, know how to write code.
Harris fit the personality type that you guys were kind of silly throughout the day, Kilgore said. Yes, Moore responded. They showed each other memes, watched videos.
“You became aware on that day (the 18th) that Ross was under some stress because of a problem at work,” Kilgore said.
Moore heard a conversation between Harris and another coworker. He was behind on a task and there was conservation that morning of Cooper’s death about getting it worked out.
Defense lawyer Bryan Lumpkin is cross examining Regina Malloy. Malloy says that she had once heard over a conversation with Harris that he lost some hearing in one ear after an accident.
Lumpkin also uses a satellite image of the Home Depot Treehouse parking lot to get Malloy to show him where employees prefered to park at the Treehouse building. She testifies that on the day of Cooper's death, Harris had parked further back than he usually did but not so far away that others wouldn't have possibly walked by the vehicle.
The prosecution calls its next witness, Brandon Moore. In 2014, Moore was a systems engineer for Home Depot's website. Moore sat close to Ross Harris but says that he didn't know him very well. Moore says that Harris seemed "distant, maybe a little stressed out" in the weeks before Cooper's death.
The prosecution has called its next witness, Regina Malloy.
She works at Home Depot.
Malloy is a musician who discussed guitars with Harris who played.
A friend told her to speak to the police.
She saw Harris come into the office building with his guitar case about a week before Cooper’s death. He used to bring his guitar in because he said leaving it in the heat in his car would warp it, Malloy testified.
On April 2, 2014, Robledo asked Harris about his son.
“The best ever!!!” he replied, sending Robledo a picture of Cooper.
She responded, “So adorable. I love his eyes.”
“He’s the best,” Harris said.
Most of their messages were about sex, though. At one point, Harris said he wanted to meet up because his wife was asleep. But they didn’t meet up.
The entirety of what you knew about his son Cooper was that Harris loved him, Kilgore said. Yes, she replied.
They met up for a one-night stand and had sex on the living room couch in an apartment. She was there for about 45 minutes.
She described the sex as “nothing out of the norm.” That was the only time they met up in person, although they continued to message each other for more than a year in all.
Robledo said that Harris never discussed leaving his wife.
“As far as you know he loved his wife and wanted to be with her,” Kilgore said. “That’s true isn’t it.”
Yes, she replied.
He never said anything negative about Cooper but was loving.
Kilgore is now cross examining Robledo.
He’s asking about Robledo using Whisper, which Harris also used.
Sometime you would respond and sometimes you wouldn’t, Kilgore said. Yes, she said.
Robledo posted something about Fifty Shades of Gray on Whisper. She read the book and saw the movie. It features bondage sex play as a key theme.
She and Harris typically messaged, though using Kik, many of the texts were sexual in nature.
Robledo testified that Harris told her, “He had met up with a guy, had relations w/ him.”
They texted using messaging services, such as Whisper and Kik. They met up at an apartment in the summer of 2013 and had sex.
Harris told the woman, Jacqueline Robledo, at one point after he had stopped messaging, he finally texted her that he had been caught by his wife and had to “lay low.”
He did not seem happy in his marriage, Robledo testified.
They texted for months, all the way up until a couple of days before Cooper died.
Video and audio are again available.
Lead prosecutor Chuck Boring is questioning a young woman who was messaging with Harris. She said that she did not initially know that Harris was married.
Some of the text were sexually explicit, including photos they sent each other. Harris continually tried to get her to meet up with him.
“I felt very flattered that I was getting some attention,” said the woman, who was going through a breakup at the time.
An underage girl who Harris was communicating with online and sexted is preparing to testify. There will not be any video or audio footage during her testimony.
Have you had an opportunity to have contact with her after that one meeting? Kilgore said. No, Escamillo said, he never saw her again.
When you walked in that room, you had no idea if she could identify him, correct? Kilgore said.
Correct, Escamillo said, but the point of the meeting was not to see if she could identify him. It was just to verify Harris’ phone number.
Kilgore pointed out that Escamillo showed her one picture of Harris, not six of different individual as is typically done in a line up scenario.
“This was not a show up or a line up,” Escamillo said.
If you wanted to do it by the book, you could have shown her six photos, Kilgore said.
“We had already identified him,” Escamillo said.
They already has his phone call to her, so the meeting was just to verify, he said.
“So there was no purpose showing her a photo right off the bat was there,” Kilgore said.
Photos can sometimes help people remember because they associate certain things, Escamillo said.
She made you aware she had just gotten out of jail? Kilgore asked. No, Escamillo said.
The sting on the prostitute was almost three months after Cooper died.
He showed her a picture of Harris while he was explaining to her why she was there.
You come in, you have her dead to rights for solicitation but you said that she wasn’t going to be arrested, Kilgore said.
“She seemed very surprised,” Escamillo said, describing her reaction.
Lead defense attorney Maddox Kilgore is cross examining Detective Escamillo.
His function was to follow up on leads, such as finding the prostitute. He did not investigate any of the forensics reports from Harris’ computer or his wife’s MacBook.
Escamillo said he didn’t previously know of the prostitute Harris saw.
The officer, Ralph Escamillo, said he found the prostitute's phone number on Harris' call log. He met with her along with two other officers at the Econo Lodge on Franklin Road in Marietta. She described Harris as overweight and "dumpy."
Court is underway.
The prosecution is questioning a police officer who interacted with a prostitute that met with Justin Ross Harris three times in the weeks leading up to Cooper's death.