The trial of the man who claims he accidentally left his 22-month-old son in a hot car while he was at work in 2014 has been moved to a different venue. The defense argued that the media coverage of the case of Justin Ross Harris made it difficult, if not impossible, to find an impartial jury in Cobb County, Georgia.
According to reports, both the prosecution and the defense in Harris’s trial had been trying for weeks to find jurors in the Atlanta jurisdiction, and jury selection was nearing completion with 41 out of 42 potential jurors qualified. However, Harris’s attorneys had complained that Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley had qualified five jurors who they believed were biased against the defendant. At least one of the qualified jurors had reportedly called Harris a “pervert” and believed he should get the death penalty.
Related: Is It Really Possible For A Parent To ‘Forget’ Their Child In A Hot Car?
In granting the change of venue, the case has been delayed for an undetermined amount of months, possibly even until fall. Opening statements had been expected as early as Wednesday, May 4. Now, in addition to the delay in the start of the trial, there are reports that the change of venue may even cost Cobb County an additional $100,000.
Harris is facing charges that include malice murder, second degree felony cruelty to children with excessive physical or mental pain, and multiple counts of distribution of obscene material to minors and sexual exploitation of children. The first two counts are from the toddler’s death in 2014, while the latter charges involve an alleged habit of sexting underage girls. Prosecutors allege that Harris had had such sexual chats with up to six women on the day his son sat in that hot car baking to death.