There was no verdict in the Justin Ross Harris hot car death trial. Lawyers delivered closing arguments in the Justin Ross trial. The defense argued that it was an accident that Justin Ross left his infant son Cooper in a hot car that caused his death. Ross’ lawyer Maddox Kilgore presented a skillful closing argument where he contends that Ross had no motive to kills his son. The State claimed that he wanted to escape from his child to have more time to be with other women as there was extensive evidence of him sex texting other women and having affairs. The defense claimed that Ross was living the life he wanted, there was no need to kill his son who the defense said the evidence showed he loved. At the time of his son death, Ross the defense claims was planning a family cruise and was looking for a house in a good school district. Ross’ ex-wife who despised him for cheating said that he loved Cooper.
Ross left his son in the car according to the defense when he got out of his normal routine of dropping his son off at daycare prior to going to Chick Fillet and then to work. The defense presented an expert about false memory. The defense expert explained to the jury that it is very easy to believe you did something when you habitually do it and people can easily get distracted.
The defense further argued that the State incorrectly presented how the car seat looked and that he was not in the line of sight of Ross. A key point for the defense was that Ross parked in the middle of the parking lot, rather than in a wooded or more secluded area of the lot where Cooper was less likely to be seen.
There was no verdict today in the Harris trial after the jury has been deliberating for 2 days. Given the standard or proof beyond a reasonable doubt, I would expect the jury to find him not guilty of murder. While the evidence suggests that he could have wanted to kill his son, there is other evidence inconsistent with that conclusion and given that a jury must have an abiding conviction to a near moral certitude I would expect a verdict of not guilty on the murder charge and a guilty verdict on lesser charges of reckless endangerment of a child.
Attorney Michael Delsignore is a criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts handling serious felony and misdemeanor cases.