Harris is facing charges of felony murder and 2nd degree child cruelty. He has pleaded not guilty, according to NBC News.
Harris reportedly strapped 22-month-old Cooper into a rear-facing car seat after stopping for breakfast on June 18 and headed to work, where he left the boy in the car all day. Harris returned to the car at lunch to put something in the front seat, according to the warrant.
Seven hours after leaving the boy in the car, Harris pulled over on his way home from work and sought assistance with his son, according to the warrant. Cooper was declared dead in a shopping center parking lot.
“During an interview with Justin, he stated that he recently researched, through the internet, child deaths inside vehicles and what temperature it needs to be for that to occur,” according to search warrants obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Justin stated that he was fearful that this could happen.”
When outside temperatures are in the 60s, the temperature inside a parked car can rise to more than 110 degrees, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Temperatures can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes inside a car.
“Even with a window rolled down two inches, if the outside temperature is in the low 80s° Fahrenheit, the temperature inside a vehicle can reach deadly levels in only 10 minutes,” the NHTSA reports. Further, children’s bodies do not regulate heat as well as adults. “In fact, when left in a hot vehicle, a young child's body temperature may increase three to five times as fast an adult. High body temperatures can cause permanent injury or even death.”