Ex-wife: Georgia dad didn't mean to kill toddler in hot carFebruary 17, 2017 6:39pm

ATLANTA (AP) — The ex-wife of a 36-year-old Georgia man convicted of murder for leaving their toddler son to suffer an agonizing death inside a hot SUV said she still believes "it was an accident."

Justin Ross Harris was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty in November. His son, 22-month-old Cooper Harris, died in June 2014 after sweltering for hours in the SUV outside his father's metro Atlanta workplace. Prosecutors argued Harris wanted the boy dead so that he would be free to pursue sexual relationships outside his marriage.

A key witness for Harris' defense was Leanna Taylor, his ex-wife and the dead child's mother. She defended her decision to testify in interviews published Friday.

"It never crossed my mind that Ross had done it on purpose," Leanna Taylor told ABC's "20/20" (http://abcn.ws/2lQo6R9) in an interview scheduled to air Friday night. "Never. It was an accident."

In a separate interview, Taylor told The Atlanta Journal Constitution and WSB-TV (http://bit.ly/2lrMrvR) that she has been criticized for speaking out in defense of her ex-husband.

She said her son is "seen as a child that wasn't loved and wasn't wanted, and that just wasn't true."

Taylor insisted Harris was "a very engaged, involved father" — echoing statements she made on the witness stand last fall — even as he was engaging in sexual banter and trysts with women he met online. Sexually explicit text messages and photos that Harris traded with other women were used as evidence against him.

"I have to tell the truth," Taylor said. "And I can't sit up there and say he was a bad father. I can't sit there and say he was annoyed by having a child, because that's not what I saw."

Cooper died in the parking lot of the offices where Harris worked as a web developer for Home Depot in the Atlanta suburbs. He and Taylor moved to Georgia from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 2012. She returned to live in Alabama after her son's death.

Taylor told ABC she has Cooper's right footprint tattooed on her own foot so he will always be "walking with her." And more than 2 ½ years after her son's death, she still clings to reminders of his brief life.

"At this very moment, there is a sippy cup on my kitchen table that still has the water in it that he had drank the day before or the morning of, and I just can't wash it," Taylor said. "There's some of him in it and that may seem weird ... and nobody touches it. It's like they know better."

More Stories Like This

FILE - This Nov. 27, 2012, file photo shows a sidewalk memorial for victim Phillip Moreno in Torrance, Calif. Sherri Lynn Wilkins, a California substance-abuse counselor who hit Moreno with her car and drove two miles with his body embedded in her windshield was sentenced Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, to 25 years to life in prison. Wilkins had pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and two drunken driving counts.  (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Woman who drove with man body on windshield gets 25 to life
Tony Moreno looks to the jury as his guilty verdict is read by the jury foreperson in Middlesex Superior Court on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 in Middletown, Conn.   Moreno threw 7-month-old Aaden off the Arrigoni Bridge that spans the Connecticut River between Middletown and Portland on July 15, 2015, and then jumped intending to kill himself, prosecutors said.  (Patrick Raycraft/Hartford Courant via AP)
Man convicted of throwing baby son off bridge to his death
Patriots coach named as possible witness at Hernandez trialNew England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (BEHL'-ih-chik) has been added to a list of people who could be called to testify at the double murder trial of former player Aaron Hernandez
FILE – This March 17, 2015, file photo shows the home where the body of a 3-month-old girl, Jayniah Watkins, was found in the College Hill neighborhood of Cincinnati. Deasia Watkins pleaded guilty to murder Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, in the stabbing and decapitation of her 3-month-old daughter Jayniah Watkins in March 2015. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Charles J. Kubicki Jr. sentenced Watkins to 15 years to life in prison. (Amanda Rossmann/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP, File)
Mom who decapitated baby gets 15 years to life in prison
Judge: Mentally ill murder suspect can be forcibly medicatedA Connecticut judge has ordered a mentally ill man charged with killing a Yale University doctor to be forcibly medicated so he can stand trial
Alabama death penalty cases may soon rest solely with juryAlabama could be close to ending its one-of-a-kind practice of allowing judges to hand down death sentences despite a jury's recommendation for life in prison

Related Searches

Related Searches