Ross Harris sexted with multiple women over weeks, months and years leading up to the hot-car death of his 22-month-old son Cooper.
“But he never said he needed an escape from his son until 10 minutes before he killed his son,” lead prosecutor Chuck Boring said Monday.
Boring was referring to the Whisper message Harris had on the morning of his son’s last day, sending a message to a woman who’d posted that she “hated being married with kids.” Harris responded, “I love my son and all, but we both need escapes.”
Boring repeated the “need escapes” exchange numerous times during his opening statement more than a month ago, and he did so again during his closing arguments on Monday.
Boring was allowed to address jurors a second time during his rebuttal arguments after the lunch break. He told the jury “that justice in this case is nothing more than justice for that little boy.”
Boring contends Harris deliberately left Cooper in his overheated SUV on June 18, 2014. Harris’ defense team say the child’s death was a horrible accident.
Boring acknowledged most everyone who knew Harris and who testified during the trial said they believed he was a good parent who loved his son. But they also had not idea about Harris’ double life, the prosecutor said.
There is also evidence that indicated Harris had planned to take his wife and son on a cruise later in the year with his brother and his family, Boring said.
“I’m not up here saying he was conflicted about it,” Boring said. Harris “probably vacillated” about whether he was going to kill Cooper and only “pulled the trigger” when the right moment presented itself.
Boring steadfastly held onto his theory that Harris killed Cooper so he could be free of his family and sleep with as many people as possible.
“Of course, this child was a burden and in the way,” Boring said. By carrying out the murder, “he doesn’t have to worry about his child anymore.”
Boring countered arguments made earlier in the day by lead defense attorney Maddox Kilgore. This included Kilgore’s referral to testimony from Leanna Taylor, Harris’ ex-wife who testified he didn’t intentionally leave their child in the car.
“Leanna was never going to accept her husband was ever capable of this,” Boring said.
The prosecutor then said of Taylor: She had been “treated like a doormat for years.”
Boring ended is opening with an emotional plea.
He noted that Cooper would now be four years old, in pre-K and headed toward kindergarten.
“He’d be learning how to play tee-ball,” he said. “But he’s not. He’s not here with us because that defendant took him. That defendant took his life for his own self-obsessed reasons.”
Cooper can’t be brought back, but justice can be done, Boring told the jury. “Justice in this case is holding the defendant responsible.”