Today in Justin Ross Harris trial: First full day of testimony


With its first few witnesses, the prosecution seemed to follow an almost linear chronology: an officer who responded to the scene where little Cooper Harris?셲 body lay on the asphalt of the Akers Mill Square parking lot; a witness who heard Harris?셲 SUV screeching to a halt in that parking lot and who tried without success to administer CPR; a witness who tried to help Harris get his child out of the SUV.

Akers Mill Square, a shopping center in Cobb County, is the place where Ross Harrs claims he first noticed that a lifeless Cooper was in the car with him. Harris is charged with eight counts, including murder, for leaving Cooper to die in the SUV on what was then the hottest day of 2014.

Here are some key quotes from the defense’s opening statement Tuesday and from the first day of witness testimony:

“I told him things were as good as they were going to get.”

— Cobb police officer Jacqueline Piper, who said Harris complained to her that the back of her police car was too hot, and the handcuffs she’d put on him were too tight.

“He took everything from her. He cheated on her; he humiliated her in front of the whole world. He’s responsible for the death of her only little boy. She ought to hate him… . But she’s also going to tell you Ross Harris loved that little boy more than anything in the world.”

— Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore, speaking of Harris’s ex-wife, Leanna, during his opening statement.

“His tongue was sticking out. His hands were clinched. He was just straight up dead.”

— Witness James Hawkins, wiping away tears, as he described 22-month-old Cooper Harris when he came upon his body.

“God, what have I done? What have I done? What have I done? Oh, my god. Oh, my god. What have I done? My boy. My boy. Oh, my God.”

— Tape of Harris’s outcry as he sat in the rear of a Cobb County police car.

“When I initially got in the car, I asked him what was going on and he said, ‘I left him in the car. I’ve left him in the car.’”

— Witness Anthony Pantano, who said he tried to help Harris get his son out of the SUV.


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