Father of Toddler Who Died in a Hot Car Sentenced to Life in Prison

Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore with a photo of the boy. Image via AP.
Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore with a photo of the boy. Image via AP.

Justin Harris was arrested in 2014 after his son, Cooper, died in the backseat of his car. Evidence supported the prosecutor’s accusation that Harris knew his son was in the car, and he deliberately left him locked inside to die to escape his family life.


The Associated Press reports that Harris received a malice murder conviction last month. On Monday, Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark sentenced Harris to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Harris was discovered to be sexting throughout the day while 22-month-old Cooper was strapped in his car seat. Harris claimed he had forgotten to drop his son off at day care, though security footage showed him looking into the backseat and stopping by the vehicle on his lunch break. In one of his sexts sent to a woman with whom he was conducting an affair, Harris wrote that he had “no conscience.”

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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I’m originally from Cobb County, so this case has definitely been on my radar. Most of Georgia has followed it, actually. Which makes it even more ridiculous when one of my bosses earlier this year punished her children for not doing their chores by making them, and this is the quote she used, “sit in the hot car as punishment.” For an hour and a half. I alerted child protective services, but nothing seemed to come of it. Thankfully the kids were okay.