BRUNSWICK — In an unusual twist, attorneys for Ross Harris — and the defendant himself — fought to keep a juror who once publicly opined that he had left his 22-month-old son Cooper in a hot car on purpose.
Prosecutors had sought to strike Juror #20 after discovering posts in a Facebook group dedicated to the Harris trial that contradicted what she said while under questioning by lawyers last week. Then, she presented herself as more open-minded, saying, “Sometimes we forget that everyone has humanity.”
“I don’t support the death penalty but I hope he gets as much time as they can give him,” she posted in September 2014.
The juror said she did not remember posting those comments but insisted she had not misrepresented herself.
Prosecutor Chuck Boring disagreed, telling Superior Court Judge Mary Staley Clark, “If we leave her in this jury pool it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Staley Clark, seeking to circumvent that possibility, questioned Harris directly on whether he agreed with his attorneys that Juror #20 should not be struck.
“I don’t want this juror struck,” said Harris, speaking publicly for the first time since his June 2014 arrest.
The judge denied the state’s motion to strike, leaving the jury pool intact with 45 Glynn County residents.
Staley Clark put off until Oct. 3 — when the trial will resume following a week’s recess — a decision on the defense’s motion to limit the testimony of a prostitute who will testify she was with Harris a few weeks before Cooper’s death.
Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore said the witness told police she was only “90 percent sure” of Harris’ identity.
“They gave her an ultimatum: Go to jail or cooperate,” Kilgore said. “Even under those circumstances she still couldn’t make a positive ID.”