The trial of a man accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son in a hot SUV to die is expected to resume Tuesday, days after Hurricane Matthew paused the proceedings, authorities said.
The trial recessed Thursday ahead of the storm, which brushed past the Georgia coast late last week. The courts want to give jurors and everyone else living in the Brunswick area a chance to assess their homes for storm damage, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported (http://on-ajc.com/2e8dFW5 ).
Tuesday’s session is meant to provide an assessment of how jurors, prosecutors and defense lawyers are faring and whether they are set to resume, court officials said. Testimony is unlikely Tuesday, but expected to begin anew Wednesday, officials said.
“We are just concerned about the jurors,” Cobb County Court Administrator Tom Charron said Monday. He added that court officials were trying to call all of the 12 jurors, plus the four alternate jurors.
Prosecutors say Justin Ross Harris, who is charged with murder, intentionally killed his son Cooper by leaving him for hours in a vehicle parked outside his workplace at Home Depot’s corporate offices outside Atlanta, in Cobb County. Harris had moved from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Georgia in 2012 to take a job with Home Depot as a computer technician.
Prosecutors opened their case earlier this month by telling jurors that Harris was seeking sex outside his marriage, and left his toddler to die so he could “escape from one life into another.”
Defense lawyers have said the death was a tragic accident, and that Harris simply forgot that the boy was in his vehicle.
Harris told police he watched cartoons with his son the morning of the death, took him to breakfast at a fast food restaurant and kissed Cooper while strapping him into his car seat. But Harris said he forgot to drop his son off at day care and drove to work, forgetting the boy was in the back seat.
He faces life in prison if convicted of murder.
Pretrial publicity prompted the trial’s move to Brunswick on the Georgia coast.