Justin Ross Harris, the Georgia man convicted of murdering his 22-month-old son by intentionally leaving him to die in a hot car in 2014, is seeking a new trial.
Harris took his son, Cooper, to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast on June 18, 2014. After they ate, Harris neglected to take Cooper to his regular day care. Instead, Harris drove to his job as a web designer for Home Depot and locked the car doors while he worked. Temperatures soared to nearly 90 degrees that day. By the time Harris got out of work, Cooper was dead.
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Harris was charged with eight felony counts in 2016 in the death of Cooper, including malice murder, cruelty to children and criminal attempt to commit a felony. He had pleaded not guilty to all charges.
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Prosecutors said that Harris killed his son so he could be free to have sex with as many women as possible.
During the trial, detectives made several explosive claims against Harris, alleging that he exchanged sexual text messages with six different women on the day his son died. One of the people he allegedly sexted was just 16 years old.
Police also claimed that Harris visited prostitutes, one of whom testified against him during trial.
Marietta Daily Journal/AP
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But the defense team argued that Cooper’s death was a tragic accident, and that Harris did not intend to kill his young son.
A jury sided with the prosecution, and Harris was convicted of all charges. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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But in an appeal filed the following year, Harris’ legal team argued that prejudicial testimony “made it an absolute impossibility” for the 39-year-old to receive a fair trial. The motion said that the court prevented Harris’ defense from attacking the credibility of police officers involved in the investigation.
Harris asked for a new trial — a request that will finally be considered in December. Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark has scheduled three days to hear Harris’ motion for a new trial on Dec. 14-16, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
After reviewing the new filing in 2017, Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds issued a statement to PEOPLE, reading, “I have complete confidence in the evidence, the trial process and the jury’s verdict in this case, and we will be ready when the defense’s motion for new trial is scheduled for a hearing.”