Investigators with the Cobb County Police Department and other agencies are trying to gather enough evidence to implicate Justin Ross Harris’ wife Leanna in the alleged purposeful death of Cooper Harris, the child who died in a sweltering car in Marietta, Ga., after being left in there for over seven hours.
Leanna Harris’ conspicuous lack of emotion in during her husband’s court appearance last week, as prosecutors successfully pitched their case to move forward with murder chargers in their son’s death, stunned some legal pundits and angered others.
But there is more work to be done before she can be charged in Cooper Harris’ death, if at all.
“There isn’t enough to make her a co-conspirator … yet,” said criminal defense lawyer Esther Panitch, according to WSB-TV.
Here are several circumstantial issues that tie Leanna Harris to the crime in the eyes of investigators, including:
- Leanna Harris also looked up information on the internet about child deaths in hot cars in the weeks leading up to the death of the couples 22-month-old son.
- When she called home June 18 with the grim news of Cooper’s death, her mother could be overheard on the phone: “Why aren’t you crying? Why aren’t you reacting?” Her response, according to police: “I must be in shock.”
- Investigators said Leanna Harris’ reaction to her son’s death was highly questionable. When informed by workers at her son’s day care facility that Cooper had never been dropped off, she calmly responded, “Ross must have left him in the car. There’s no other explanation,” according to Cobb County Police Det. Phil Stoddard’s testimony Thursday, which was recorded live on CNN.
- When Leanna Harris got her first opportunity to speak to husband Justin Harris at the police headquarters after he had been charged with murder, Leanna Harris asked him, “Did you say too much?”
- According to multiple media reports, her eulogy at her son’s funeral seemed odd and questionable to outsiders. “Some of you might wonder how I’m standing here today and I ask myself the same question,” Leanna Harris said. “I should be crumpled into a pile of tears and snot on the ground. (The Lord) is standing behind me, holding me up. Junior high and senior high — they weren’t the happiest times (for me),” she added, listing heartbreaks her son would be spared. “He won’t have to suffer through the death of his (grandparents). He won’t have to suffer through the death of me and Ross.”
- She appeared stoic, to the point of being unmoved, throughout her husband’s court proceedings that saw the judge rule that the case will go to trial. She stared emotionless most of the time, even chewing gum as prosecutors outlined a strong case against Justin Harris.