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The AJC Breakdown podcast


‘Breakdown’ S03, Ep. 6: Doctor, healer, serial sex offender

In this final episode, a Fulton County judge orders Dr. Narendra Gupta to surrender his medical license and stop practicing medicine forever. She underscores the order with a pointed question: “Do you understand that, Mister Gupta?” Gupta says yes. He has just entered into a deal in which he pleaded guilty to three charges of sexual battery against patients. Another condition of the plea...


'Breakdown'  S02 Ep. 17: Post Script 

'Breakdown'  S02 Ep. 17: Post Script 

Justin Ross Harris was sentenced this month to spend the rest of his life in prison – no possibility of parole – for the hot-car murder of his 22-month-old son, Cooper.  Before she sent Harris to prison forever, though, the judge wanted to thank everyone connected to the case. Except for Harris. After all the thank yous and accolades, the judge turned to the orange-clad Harris and...
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 16: We have a verdict 

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 16: We have a verdict 

After four days of deliberations, the jury in Brunswick returns with a verdict in The State of Georgia v. Justin Ross Harris. Cobb County's district attorney says this is no time for a celebration. Harris's lawyers, in an emotional interview, say they are stunned by the outcome.
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 15: The jury gets the case

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 15: The jury gets the case

The prosecution and the defense give impassioned, powerful closing arguments, wrapping up the trial. Prosecutor Chuck Boring insists Ross Harris lived a double life and intentionally killed his little boy. Defense attorney Maddox Kilgore contends Cooper’s death was a horrible accident and that police rushed to judgment without looking at evidence contrary to their theory. The six-man, six-woman...
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 14: Leanna Taylor takes the stand 

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 14: Leanna Taylor takes the stand 

Ross Harris’ ex-wife, Leanna Taylor, took the witness stand on Monday and repeated her long-held belief that Harris never meant to leave their 22-month-old son Cooper to die in his overheated SUV. Taylor spent an emotional two days on the stand, ending her testimony with a dramatic flourish. Some of Harris’ relatives and closest friends then followed her and testified Harris loved his...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 13: The state rests

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 13: The state rests

Lead Detective Phil Stoddard ended his testimony after four days on the witness stand. Under cross-examination, Stoddard took some punches, but also delivered some blows. On Friday, the state rested its case after calling 51 witnesses to the stand over the course of 16 days of testimony. They presented no eyewitnesses, no DNA on a murder weapon, no irrefutable video. Instead, prosecutors put into...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 12: From the gutter to the homicide file

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 12: From the gutter to the homicide file

An amazing week in the Justin Ross Harris murder trial: it started in the gutter with Ross Harris’s strange and sordid sexual behavior and ended with blockbuster testimony by a defense witness and gripping video from the police station. This witness put the lie to one of the most explosive assertions of the state: that Harris investigated a website devoted to a “child free” lifestyle...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 11: A short week of crucial testimony

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 11: A short week of crucial testimony

The trial of Justin Ross Harris picks up again in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. The first order of business -- make sure that the jury, so difficult to assemble, isn't scattered to the winds. With everyone accounted for, it's time to hear witness accounts of Cooper Harris' life and death.   Episode Eleven of Season Two of Breakdown looks at a week's worth of crucial testimony in the...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 10: Strong openings ahead of the storm

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 10: Strong openings ahead of the storm

In Episode 10 of the second season of "Breakdown," the new jury is seated and it's finally "game on" for the prosecution and defense teams in the Justin Ross Harris murder trial. Lead prosecutor Chuck Boring delivers a blistering and methodical opening statement that spotlights what he calls Harris' strange behavior at the crime scene, and reveals some of the lurid texting evidence...
'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 9: It’s time to go to trial: Will Harris testify?

'Breakdown' S02 Ep. 9: It’s time to go to trial: Will Harris testify?

The Justin Ross Harris murder trial will commence in just a few days. Did Harris intentionally kill his 22-month-old son by leaving him in a hot car to die?   That’s the biggest question, of course. But following right behind it is this one: Will Harris testify in his own behalf?   In Episode 9 of “Breakdown,” host Bill Rankin talks with veteran trial...
'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 8: The jury panel is assembled

'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 8: The jury panel is assembled

The court and the lawyers, working on version 2 of jury selection, have finally assembled a qualified jury pool in the Justin Ross Harris murder trial. The first round of jury selection, in April, crashed and burned on its final day. Judge Mary Staley Clark granted a change of venue so the court could go in search of jurors who hadn’t already made up their minds. Just in time for Episode...
'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 7: Harris trial moves to Georgia's Golden Isles

'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 7: Harris trial moves to Georgia's Golden Isles

The Justin Ross Harris trial heads to Brunswick after a four-month hiatus and a change of venue from Cobb County. What sort of jury will Judge Mary Staley Clark find on Georgia’s coast? Episode Seven of Season Two of Breakdown looks at why the trial’s new venue could be called a prosecutor’s dream. Legal affairs writer Bill Rankin explores the demographics of Glynn County...
‘Breakdown' S01 Ep. 8: After a year’s wait, a concluding decision

‘Breakdown' S01 Ep. 8: After a year’s wait, a concluding decision

Justin Chapman's arson and murder convictions were overturned more than a year ago, but his life out of prison has been a tense waiting game ever since. Would prosecutors put him back on trial or end the long-running legal drama that put him in state prison for eight years? Chapman, who has always maintained his innocence, recently learned the answer to that question. The case against Chapman...
'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 5: A jury of his peers, with some preconceived notions

'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 5: A jury of his peers, with some preconceived notions

We’re still in the throes of jury selection in the Justin Ross Harris hot-car murder case, although it appears to be slogging toward a conclusion. In this phase, Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley is qualifying a large panel of prospective jurors – a panel from which the final 12 and some alternates will be selected. Staley hasn’t said how many alternates she wants, and the number...
‘Breakdown' S02 Ep. 4: Deciding the case before it begins?

‘Breakdown' S02 Ep. 4: Deciding the case before it begins?

The most famous trial lawyers are known for their soaring oratory or for being flamboyant or combative or fast on their feet. But some of the most successful attorneys are the ones who know how to pick a jury. In the trial of Justin Ross Harris, jury selection is a long and often tedious process that the public isn't paying much attention to. The courtroom is often only half-full. But some experts...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 3: Leanna Harris: Once implicated, never charged

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 3: Leanna Harris: Once implicated, never charged

Leanna Harris’s divorce from her husband became final last month, and she is now known as Leanna Taylor. She remains an enigmatic figure in the tragic death of her 22-month-old son, Cooper: who is this woman who married Justin Ross Harris and then, later, gave birth to their only son?   Much of the world decided Taylor was involved in her son’s death because of her now-famous...
'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 2: Did the police get the evidence right?

'Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 2: Did the police get the evidence right?

After Justin Ross Harris and his 22-month-old son Cooper left breakfast at the Chick-fil-A that day, how long did it take Harris to forget that Cooper was in the car? When Harris opened his car door after noon to throw something into the front seat, shouldn’t he have noticed the body of his son in the rear seat? Even hours after Cooper’s body was removed from the SUV later that day, could...
‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 1: Death in a Hot Car — Mistake or Murder?

‘Breakdown’ S02 Ep. 1: Death in a Hot Car — Mistake or Murder?

Ross Harris is weeks away from standing trial in the murder of his 22-month-old son, Cooper. But you can get up to speed right now with Season 2 of our podcast, “Breakdown: Death in a Hot Car: Mistake or Murder?" Cobb County authorities say Harris left Cooper strapped into his car seat on a hot June day in 2014, leading to the child’s death in the super-heated vehicle. And, the...
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