This site is full of stories about wrongful convictions. I’m usually writing about cases after people have been found innocent. Now we have the case of Justin Ross Harris who has been accused of intentionally leaving his child in the back of his car with the intent of killing the child. That’s the case that an assistant district attorney brought before a judge in Georgia. If you’ve been following the story, then you know that the case has already been sensationalized in the media. Nancy Grace is tripping all over herself with her outrage. Nancy, since you’ve been wrong so many times before, and you won’t ever let anyone on your show present an opposing view without making snide remarks and comments, let me be the first one to tell you that you got this one wrong too.
This type of thing has happened before. First there are wild, unsubstantiated claims, followed by outrage, followed by a rush to judgement. It happened in the Salem witch trials, it happened in the 80’s with the day care sex abuse cases that gripped the nation and ended with the wrongful imprisonment of dozens of people, it happened in the Memphis three case. Remember that one? The media was all over the satanic ritual nonsense offered by the prosecution.
If you look at the facts of this case, it seems obvious to me that this was a tragic accident. I watched most of the probable cause hearing. I heard the case laid out by the ADA. My first impression was that it didn’t look good for this guy. But I knew there was another side to the story, so I waited to hear what the defense attorney had to say. That’s when it clicked for me that this is a case of one or two detectives deciding to make a case where none exists. First claim: he showed no emotion after his child’s death. Well, guess what? He did show emotion. He cried, he screamed, he was genuinely grief stricken, according to a witness at the scene. Second claim: he made inappropriate and sinister web searches. Turns out that this also is not true. Some of what he was accused of searching weren’t searches at all. He simply clicked on a link or a video that was already on the site he was viewing. That’s no different that what we all do when scanning through news stories on the web. If I had a young child and saw a story about people wanting to be child free, I might even click on that link to see what they have to say. That isn’t motive for murder. Third claim: he was in financial trouble. Have you seen any evidence of that? Do you really think that a father would kill his own son for $22,000 in insurance money?
So step back for a moment and consider the charges. He searched the web on how to kill his child through heat exposure. He, and maybe even his wife, had the whole thing planned out. So what evidence do you have? How about a video that shows him going to his car in the afternoon to throw some recently purchased light bulbs into his car. If this thing was all planned out, don’t you think he would have checked on the kid to see what his condition was when he went to the car? But that’s not what he does. He opens the door and tosses in the light bulbs. He has his friends drop him off by the car. Would someone who was planning an elaborate scheme do that? He’s at work all day. He’s making plans to go to the movies. He’s not acting suspicious. He’s not looking out the window at his car. He’s on the way to the theatre when he suddenly realizes his mistake and pulls off the highway and stops right in the middle of the road to get his son.
Next we hear how the wife went to daycare and learned that her son was not there. She makes a comment that Ross must have left him in the car. Now we don’t have all of the details on this, but if you assume that she knew that he left the house with the child in the backseat and the child never arrived and you have a text from your husband asking when are you’re going to pick up my Buddy, it would not be unusual to suspect that Ross must have left him the car, something that she too had been concerned about.
Then you have the sexting. This proves that he is immoral and that he had troubles in his marriage, right? What it proves is that he was distracted that day. So distracted that he forgot that his son was still in the back seat.
If you need more proof that there is a witch hunt going on, just watch how the prosecution (and the media) interpret the facts of the case to fit the narrative that they are trying to tell. Example one: He parked his car where he always parked it. Media analysis – the prosecution says that he meticulously planned the murder and knew that if he parked someplace different it would draw suspicion. So now not only is he a murderer, he’s also a criminal mastermind. Example two: no drugs were found in the toxicology report on the child. Media analysis – he knew that if he drugged the child it would once again prove his guilt.