Ex of Dad Who Left Son to Die in Hot Car: 'It Was an Accident'

Leanna Taylor defends Justin Ross Harris, convicted of murder
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 17, 2017 12:07 PM CST
Ex of Dad Who Left Son to Die in Hot Car: 'It Was an Accident'
Leanna Taylor cries as an attorney shows photographs of her son Cooper to the jury during a murder trial for her ex-husband Justin Ross Harris Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, in Brunswick, Ga.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore, Pool)

The ex-wife of a 36-year-old Georgia man convicted of murder for leaving their toddler son to die inside a hot SUV says she still believes "it was an accident," the AP reports. Justin Ross Harris was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty in November. His son, 22-month-old Cooper Harris, died after being left for hours in the SUV outside his father's workplace. Harris' ex-wife, Leanna Taylor, told ABC's 20/20 in an interview airing Friday that she "never" believed Harris meant to kill their son. Taylor told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV that she saw Harris as "a very engaged, involved father who wanted to be with his child." The fact that he cheated on her during their marriage has no bearing on whether he would hurt their child, she adds.

"There was evidence in our relationship that would suggest that he would be capable of being unfaithful to me," she says. "There was no evidence in our relationship that suggested that he would harm anyone, much less his own son." She says her son is "seen as a child that wasn't loved and wasn't wanted, and that just wasn't true." On the subject of having more children someday, she adds that she always wanted to be a mother, but "when you have experienced every parent’s worst nightmare, to think about having another child and that fear of something happening again and that constant worry of wanted to keep them safe—for me it’s going to be 10 times worse than for the average parent." Taylor moved from metro Atlanta to Alabama after Cooper's death. She testified in Harris' defense at his trial. (More Justin Ross Harris stories.)

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