ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

heavy-rain-night Created with Sketch.
74°
T-storms
H 83° L 66°
  • heavy-rain-night Created with Sketch.
    74°
    Current Conditions
    T-storms. H 83° L 66°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    83°
    Today
    T-storms. H 83° L 66°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    83°
    Tomorrow
    Partly Cloudy. H 83° L 67°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National
Dad of toddler who died in hot SUV to make crucial court hearing
Close

Dad of toddler who died in hot SUV to make crucial court hearing

Warrants released Sunday morning say the mother of the toddler who died in a hot car also researched child deaths inside vehicles prior to her son's death.

Dad of toddler who died in hot SUV to make crucial court hearing

A Georgia father accused of killing his toddler son by leaving him in a hot SUV is scheduled to make a crucial court appearance Thursday afternoon.

Cooper Harris, 22 months old, died in June after spending hours in the SUV.

According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, prosecutors will talk about why Justin Ross Harris should face a trial for murder, while defense attorneys try to convince a judge to release him on bond at Thursday’s probable cause hearing.

The hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Cobb County Courthouse.

— Please return to ajc.com and wsbtv.com for updates. 

Below is the original story by Alexis Stevens of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

----------------------

Original story: The mother of the 22-month-old who died after being left inside an SUV told police she also researched children dying in hot vehicles, according to new court documents released Sunday morning.

“Leanna Harris, the child’s mother, was also questioned regarding the incident, and made similar statements regarding researching in car deaths and how it occurs,” search warrant affidavits obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution state.

The timing of those online searches and investigators’ findings have not been released. But within about five hours of the toddler’s death on June 18, his father, Justin Ross Harris, was arrested, and charged with murder and cruelty to children.

>> RELATED: Police: Father who left child in hot car charged with murder

Leanna Harris has not been identified as a suspect in the death of her son, Cooper Harris. But she was also questioned in the hours following the boy’s death after he was left in his car seat inside a Hyundai Tucson for at least seven hours while his father went to work. On Saturday, Leanna Harris spoke at her son’s funeral.

“Ross was and is a wonderful father,” Leanna Harris said to the applause of about 250 mourners, The AJC reported.

Cooper’s death and his father’s subsequent arrest quickly made national headlines, sparked by a sharply divided debate over whether the felony charges were appropriate. Support for Ross Harris, including an online petition to the Cobb County district attorney, has shifted in recent days as new facts in the case have been reported. The online petition was halted Wednesday after more than 11,000 people had signed in support of charges being dropped in the case.

The boy’s father told police he had searched online for information regarding temperatures needed for children to die inside vehicles because he was fearful it could happen, according to search warrant affidavits released Saturday.

>> RELATED: 'I’ve killed our child,' dad screams over tiny body

Additional affidavits released Sunday state that Leanna Harris made similar statements. Police seized several electronics from the SUV and the couple’s Marietta-area condo, including an iPhone, iPad, a desktop computer, two laptops and a Google Chromecast digital media player, the warrants state.

The findings and evidence cited to arrest the boy’s father were not released and may not be until a possible trial. By law, after applying for search warrants, investigators have 10 days to conduct the searches and return the application documents to Magistrate Court.

On the morning of June 18, Ross Harris and Cooper had breakfast at a Vinings Chick-fil-A before the father strapped his son into a rear-facing car seat in the backseat of the SUV, according to police. From there, Ross Harris drove less than a mile to his Home Depot office and went to work, leaving Cooper inside the vehicle, warrants state.

>> Read more trending stories

Ross Harris went back to his SUV at lunchtime and put something inside through the driver’s side door. But it was not until after 4 p.m. when he was leaving work to meet friends that ross Harris said he realized his son was still in the backseat, police have said. He told police he immediately pulled into a shopping center for help.

“Oh my God, what have I done?” Ross Harris screamed, according to witnesses. Harris placed the boy on the parking lot pavement and began to administer CPR on him as witnesses gathered and also tried to help revive Cooper.

“When someone came to assist Justin he stopped providing medical attention to the child and started making calls on his cellphone,” the affidavits state.

Cooper was pronounced dead in the parking lot. An autopsy later determined that he died from hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature, according to police.

Read More

News

  • There is light at the end of the prolonged wet and/or cloudy spell we have been going through. As I’ve been advertising on the radio for a few days now a prolonged dry spell is expected to begin Sunday and last through next Thursday, with modest thunderstorm chances returning Friday and next weekend. By the way, from this long distance, 4th of July weather looks pretty typical for the Metro, very warm and humid with around a 30% chance of an afternoon or evening thunderstorm. But first things first. We are still in a warm very deep moist tropical air mass. And while we get to see some sun today and tomorrow, we are not done with rain just yet, nor the threat of an isolated severe storm or small, weak tornado. Listen for details on the weather today this weekend and next 5 days on the radio in my reports for updates. Or check wsbradio.com at Click on the MellishMeter on the WSB Radio homepage for my 5 day forecast in writing anytime on any digital device. Due to the tropical nature of the air in place, more heavy downpours are likely in spots late today and overnight into tomorrow and that’s on already saturated soils, so a FLASH FLOOD WATCH has been issued for all of Metro Atlanta north of Griffin. Take note that trees may fall in the wet root zones without new rain or without high wind. Also bear in mind that in tropical systems lightning and thunder is often at a minimum, even in storms capable of producing damaging straight line winds or a tornado, so you may get little or no warning. You can see what’s left of Tropical Storm Cindy and the approach of a front from the north. MID-DAY FRIDAY: FRIDAY END OF DAY: FRIDAY EVENING: SATURDAY AM: END OF DAY SATURDAY: SUNDAY MORNING: HIGHEST FLOODING RISK FRIDAY: Flash Flood Watch 2pm Friday-8pm Saturday FRIDAY SEVERE WEATHER RISK:   TORNADO WATCH UNTIL 9PM Atlanta time: The remnants of Cindy will push eastward, and interact with shear axis/weak convergence boundary through Saturday. This shear axis/weak convergence zone will slowly sag south across the metro area through Saturday, serving to focus areas of precipitation. As with any tropical system, the potential for severe weather will exist. Especially for isolated tornadoes within any rain-bands. Areas roughly along and west of the Interstate 85 corridor will have the best potential for any severe weather through tonight. However, if good heating occurs across southern areas today, an isolated severe thunderstorm is not out of the question there, too. End of day Friday predicted (simulated) radar from a couple models: A welcome change is headed our way in the long term as drier air moves into the region, with lower than normal temperatures continuing and lower than normal humidity moving in with a less than normal rain odds Sunday through next Thursday. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @MellishMeterWSB
  • Family and friends are preparing for the funeral for a 16-year-old killed in a crash in Cherokee County. Police said a 17-year-old driver fell asleep at the wheel on Hightower Road and traveled into an embankment and hit a tree. Mahlon Thornton died at the scene. The driver has a broken arm. Family members said Mahlon and his friend had been up all night fishing Sunday into Monday. 'They stayed up all night fishing. They were tired and they were probably going pretty fast,' said Cynthia Decker, Mahlon's guardian. Mahlon moved in with Decker three years ago. TRENDING STORIES: Sheriff reduces jail time for Georgia inmates who saved officer Police: Woman attacked at gas pump, turns tables on would-be robbers Homeowner stabbed to death during home invasion 'I'm going to miss that hug in the morning and that hug at night and that hug before he left,' she said. Deputies are still investigating the crash. 'I just want these kids to understand they're not invincible. They gotta rest. They gotta take care of themselves,' Decker said. Mahlon's parents said they forgive the driver. 'No blame, no blame. It could have easily been Mahlon driving,' said the victim's mother, Jenelle Thornton. Mahlon's funeral is Saturday in West Cobb. His family said they are finding comfort through faith. 'Our ministry has just begun because of this event. This will reshape us. We have no idea how to comprehend,' the victim's father, Wayne Thornton said.
  • A mother wanted on child cruelty charges out of Snellville has been arrested in Tennessee.  Savion Piotter already had DFCS cases pending against her in New York and DeKalb County. Snellville Police Det. Deann Green took out arrest warrants against her last week for drugging her four kids with Benadryl in an effort to control them, keeping them out of school for the last year and refusing to seek medical care for them.  When an officer showed up at her Snellville duplex with a caseworker, a 3-year-old answered the door and an 8-year-old subsequently shut and locked it in the officer’s face. Piotter skipped town with the kids before police could return with the warrant.  “I was able to ping her cell phone… and located it in Tennessee. I coordinated with Knoxville Police Department and they were able to locate her in the hotel in that area and make an arrest,” Green tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.  The four children were placed in DFCS custody and will be brought back to Georgia along with Piotter who Green plans to extradite.  Asked why Green was able to locate Piotter when others haven’t been able to, “My big thing is to keep track of kids and make sure they’re safe and in good condition. So, I wanted to make sure they didn’t slip through the cracks,” she says.
  • Two giant pandas from China have landed safely in Berlin where they are being welcomed by the German capital's mayor and the Chinese ambassador. Men Meng and Jiao Qing were treated like royalty on their 12-hour-flight from Chengdu in southwestern China — their entourage included a Berlin veterinarian, two Chinese zookeepers and traveling press. 'They slept a bit, munched on their bamboo and nibbled on some cookies,' veterinarian Andreas Ochs told reporters at Berlin's Schoenefeld airport shortly after the arrival on Saturday. The German capital is going nuts over the cute bears, which will first be presented to the public at the zoo on July 6. Berlin's last panda, Bao Bao, was sent in 1980 as a gift from then-Chinese leader Hua Guofeng to West Germany's chancellor, Helmut Schmidt. Bao Bao died in 2012.
  • Lauren Hutton is going to be this year's honoree at the 20th annual Maine International Film Festival. The 73-year-old actress, model and producer will be awarded the Mid-Life Achievement Award next month in Waterville, Maine. Festival programmer Ken Eisen told the Morning Sentinel (http://bit.ly/2u03TZ6) that Hutton was part of what he described as a golden age of American filmmaking in the 1970s and that she broke the rules for aging by modeling nude at age 61. She'll receive the award July 20 at the Waterville Opera House where her movie 'American Gigolo,' also starring Richard Gere, will be shown. ___ Information from: Morning Sentinel, http://www.onlinesentinel.com/
  • Artifacts connected to some of the nation's most notorious gangsters are being auctioned this weekend. A handwritten musical composition by Al Capone, a letter written by John Gotti, and jewelry that belonged to Bonnie and Clyde are among the items up for bid Saturday in the 'Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen' auction in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by Boston-based RR Auction. The musical piece entitled 'Humoresque' shows Capone's softer side. Written when Capone was in Alcatraz in the 1930s, it contains the lines: 'You thrill and fill this heart of mine, with gladness like a soothing symphony, over the air, you gently float, and in my soul, you strike a note.' Gotti's letter, written about 1998 to the daughter of a mob associate, urges the recipient to tell her father 'to keep the martinis cold.