Brother of man accused in toddler hot car death says father loved son “more than life itself”

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BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — The Latest on the trial of a Georgia man charged with murder after his son died in a hot car (Nov. 1 – all times local):

3:30 p.m.

The brother of a Georgia man whose toddler son died in a hot car says he loved the boy “more than life itself.”

Justin Ross Harris' brother and ex-wife both testify Harris loved his son Cooper and they believe he "did not mean to" leave him in the car where he died. (CBSN)
Justin Ross Harris’ brother and ex-wife both testify Harris loved his son Cooper and they believe he “did not mean to” leave him in the car where he died. (CBSN)

Michael Baygents, an Alabama police officer, testified Tuesday in defense of his younger brother, Justin Ross Harris. He is charged with murder in the 2014 death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.

Baygents told the jury that his and Harris’ families took a beach vacation together the month before Cooper died. He recalled Harris filling a kiddie pool with ocean water for his son to play in and shading it with a tent.

Asked about evidence that Harris was having sexual affairs outside his marriage, Baygents said he was “very ashamed” of his brother’s actions.

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12:15 p.m.

The ex-wife of a Georgia man accused of deliberately leaving their son to die in a hot car says he “destroyed my life.”

Leanna Taylor cries as defense attorney Maddox Kilgore shows the jury a picture of her son Cooper during a murder trial for her ex-husband Justin Ross Harris. (AP Photo)
Leanna Taylor cries as defense attorney Maddox Kilgore shows the jury a picture of her son Cooper during a murder trial for her ex-husband Justin Ross Harris. (AP Photo)

Leanna Taylor used much harsher terms to describe her former husband to a jury Tuesday than she had the previous day, when she testified he was a loving father who would not have killed their son on purpose.

Justin Ross Harris is charged with murder in the June 2014 death of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.

After Taylor testified in Harris’ defense, prosecutors pressed her on the “dark side” Harris kept hidden from her. Around the time of the boy’s death, Harris had met a prostitute for sex and was swapping sexual text messages with a teenager.

Taylor testified she hasn’t spoken to Harris since she filed for divorce in February. She said: “If I never see him again in my life, that’s fine.”

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3:30 a.m.

The ex-wife of a Georgia man charged after their son died in a hot SUV says he didn’t intend to kill the toddler.

But a prosecutor noted how little the ex-wife knew of Justin Ross Harris’ darker side. Harris had sex with a prostitute shortly before the death and had sent sexual text messages to a teenager.

Harris’ ex-wife Leanna Taylor was scheduled to return to the witness stand Tuesday in the trial of her former husband. He is charged with murder in the June 14 death of the couple’s 22-month-old son, Cooper.

Taylor said Monday that Harris loved their son and would not have left the boy to die intentionally.

Prosecutor Chuck Boring pressed Taylor about her ex-husband’s “double life.”

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