Defense, prosecutors speak on Georgia toddler hot car death case

Justin Ross Harris and his son Cooper before the toddler was left in his father's hot SUV for seven hours. (CBS)
Justin Ross Harris and his son Cooper before the toddler was left in his father's hot SUV for seven hours. (CBS)

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A defense attorney says Tuesday a Georgia man is responsible for the death of his toddler son in a hot SUV, but the father did not commit a crime.

Justin Ross Harris cried in the courtroom Tuesday as his lawyer delivered an opening statement jurors at his murder trial. His 22-month-old son, Cooper, died in June 2014 after being left for seven hours in Harris’ vehicle. Prosecutors say Harris, who moved to Georgia from Alabama in 2012, plotted to kill his son.

Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore says there’s “no doubt” the death is Harris’ fault, but it was an accident. He also says Harris was involved in “sexually immoral behavior,” but that’s no motive for Harris “to murder the person he loved more than anybody in the world.”

Prosecutors argue Harris purposely left his toddler son to die so he could “escape” to another life filled with sexual obsession.

Prosecutor Chuck Boring says during opening arguments Monday Harris sent about 30 phone messages – mostly to women and mostly about sex – on the day his 22-month-old son, Cooper, perished in June 2014.

Harris, who moved to Georgia from Alabama in 2012, is charged with malice murder.

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