Defense: Dad Committed No Crime in Son's Hot-Car Death

But it was definitely Harris' fault, lawyer says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2016 4:13 AM CDT
Updated Oct 5, 2016 5:33 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Georgia man charged with killing his toddler son wept in court Tuesday as his attorney told a jury the child's death two years ago inside a hot SUV is certainly the father's fault, but he committed no crime. Attorney Maddox Kilgore told jurors during the second day of the trial that Justin Ross Harris forgot his son was in the back seat because of a simple change in routine—he took the boy with him to breakfast that morning, though he usually dropped 22-month-old Cooper off at daycare before eating. "What you're going to see here at this trial is that being responsible is not the same thing as being a criminal," Kilgore told the jury in his opening statement.

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Prosecutors say Harris actually plotted to kill his son, hoping to escape his family responsibilities to focus on sexual liaisons he was having with prostitutes and women he met online. Kilgore told jurors they will indeed hear about "immoral sexual behavior" and "graphic, filthy sexual talk" by his client, the AP reports. He said Harris "has earned every bit of shame that's coming his way." But Harris was also planning a future with his wife and son—from planning a family cruise at the time of Cooper's death to talking with a real estate agent about finding a larger house in a good school district, Kilgore said. (Read more Justin Ross Harris stories.)

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