Justin Ross Harris’ attorney: Client ‘delighted’ he will not be retried

Cobb County’s DA says the case is closed after its decision not to retry the Atlanta father regarding infant Cooper Harris’ death.
Father will not be retried for murder
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 11:02 PM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2023 at 2:36 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The man accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son in a hot car back in 2014 will not be tried again on murder charges.

That decision came down from the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office Thursday.

“It’s bittersweet for Ross,” said Maddox Kilgore, one of the attorneys for Justin Ross Harris. “He’s delighted that the day is coming, one day when he will rejoin society, but he will do so without his son. He has expressed that he’s delighted and hopes this clears the air about what happened to his son. "

Justin Ross Harris was convicted of murder in 2016, after leaving his son Cooper in the car for seven hours while he went to work at Home Depot.

Last year, however, a 6-3 majority of the Georgia Supreme Court overturned that murder conviction, saying the state wrongly included prejudicial information about Harris’ sexual affairs.

“Things didn’t go the way we wanted them to in 2016 down in Brunswick,” Kilgore said. “The Supreme Court of Georgia, we believe, righted the ship last year.”

The Cobb County District Attorney’s Office released a statement Thursday, saying in part:

For the last 11 months, the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office has conducted a thorough review of the entire case file. Crucial motive evidence that was admitted at the first trial in 2016 is no longer available to the State due to the majority decision of the Supreme Court. Therefore, after much thought and deliberation, we have made the difficult decision to not retry Justin Ross Harris on the reversed counts of the indictment.

Harris will still be serving 12 years total, through June 2026, for other charges. Those include sex crimes against a teenage girl.

This decision happened to coincide with the annual “Look Again” campaign by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. It started back in 2012.

“We are so easily distracted by our phones, our jobs, our family,” said Reg Griffin, spokesperson for the department.

The goal is to increase awareness of the dangers of leaving children unattended in vehicles.

“The outside temperature could be 80 degrees, and within 15 to 20 minutes, it can reach 100 or even 120 degrees. What you’ve got going on is a greenhouse effect in the car,” Griffin explained.

He encouraged anyone who sees a child alone in a car to call 911.

According to the department, nationally, 33 children died from pediatric vehicular heatstroke in 2022, and three have died so far this year.