04/07/2014 12:21 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Dad Of Toddler Who Died In Hot Car Had Been 'Sexting' Six Women On Day Of Tragedy


Justin Ross Harris (Cobb County Police Dept)

The father accused of leaving his toddler son to die in a hot car for eight hours had been 'sexting' six different women on the day that his young son passed away.

A court heard that Justin Ross Harris, 33, had exchanged nude photos and sex messages with the women – including teenagers – and he was warned by the judge that he could face the death penalty over the death of 22-month-old Cooper.

Bail was refused and he'll remain in jail on murder and child cruelty charges while a full case is prepared against him.

The tragedy happened in Atlanta, Georgia, last month, where temperatures rose to over 30°C on the day of Cooper's death. Police estimate the temperature inside the car could have been as high as 55°C.

Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard told Thursday's hearing that evidence showed Mr Harris was practically leading a double life.

Mr Harris has pleaded not guilty.

He told police he was supposed to drive his son to day care the morning of June 18 but drove to work without realising that his son was strapped into a car seat in the back.

Mr Harris had been exchanging nude photos with six women, including teenagers, even on the day his son died.

While at work he used a smartphone messaging app called Kik and sent photos of his private parts.

Referring to searches done on Harris's computers, Detective Stoddard said: "We've only scratched the surface."

Mr Harris' wife told police the pair were having intimacy issues. The prosecution told the judge: "We plan to show that he wanted to live a child-free life."

Earlier, the court heard that before his son died, Mr Harris had searched online for how long it would take an animal to die in similar conditions.