A man accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son in a hot car for seven hours while he was working was indicted Thursday on eight charges, five of which are directly related to his son’s death.
Members of The Spectator Editorial Board agreed the ruling was justified in this case and that Harris would not be winning the dad-of-the-year award.
Justin Ross Harris left his son, Cooper, in his car seat from 9:25 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. on June 18, when the temperature reached the upper 80s. Police said that Harris had returned to the car during the day, but Harris did not pull his son’s body out of the car until after work, when he was headed to see “22 Jump Street” with friends.
Charges for Cooper’s death included one count of malice murder, two of felony murder and two of cruelty to children.
While his son was strapped into his car seat, police said Harris was sexting multiple women, including one female who was under 18. He faces two counts of disseminating harmful material to minors and one count of attempting to sexually exploit children.
Harris told police the death was an accident, but officials say both Harris and his wife had previously researched hot-car deaths. From jail, Harris instructed his family to collect $27,000 from the two life insurance policies Harris and his wife had on Cooper.
The majority of members said Cooper’s death was an act of negligence. One member said Harris was obviously not paying attention. Another member said there are so many things that point to murder in this case.
Members agreed the consequences must be doled out on a case-by-case basis. One member said while human error is very common, intent must also be considered.
Another member said unfortunately this situation is not unique. While it is hard to understand how a parent could forget their toddler in a hot vehicle, one member did say with the daily struggles of life they understand how parents become forgetful.
“No matter how forgetful you are,” another member said. “You are in charge of another life.”