Is 33-year-old Justin Ross Harris, a Home Depot website designer who also refereed high school football games, a cold blooded killer who deserves to be charged with murder and locked up without bail or is he a grieving father who made a fatal mistake?
An online petition created by Harris’ friends say investigators have it all wrong: that he is a good and caring dad who took his son 22-month-old Cooper to breakfast and then accidentally left him in the car, strapped in his rear facing car seat, tragically ending his young life.
That online petition on change.org is signed by 10,000 people and urges authorities to drop the charges and free him from jail so he can mourn and be comforted by family and friends.
Harris is currently in jail and charged with murder and child cruelty. There is no bond.
“This is a horrible accident. The father loved his son immensely. These were very loving parents who are devastated,” the petition says. “Justin already has to live with a punishment worse than death. Sending what’s left of his family in to bankruptcy to defend him against these charges is only bringing more hardship to a family that will never recover from the loss of a child.
“There is nothing to indicate that the father intentionally left his child in the car, so a charge of murder is not appropriate.”
But police say the charge is appropriate.
Officially investigators won’t say what evidence they have. However, information has been leaked to reporters at several Atlanta area news outlets. One of those leaks: Harris’ work computer was seized and analysis shows that there was a search about how long a dog can stay in a hot car.
Supporters say that Harris is a caring father and a good husband. They also started an online fundraising drive to raise money to help the family. So far the fund has nearly met its goal of $25,000.
Harris’ next court appearance is July 15.