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Ross Harris' ex-wife stands by him after son's death





  • Leanna Taylor says she still supports her jailed ex-husband Justin Ross Harris
  • Harris was sentenced to life in December for intentionally leaving their 22-month-old son in a hot SUV to die in Georgia in 2014
  • Taylor says he was a good dad and doesn't believe he killed their boy on purpose
  • Cooper died in 2014 after being left for seven hours in the back of his dad's SUV
  • Harris told police at the time he didn't realize his son was still in his car seat
  • Police found evidence he was sexting women, including minors, at the time
  • Prosecutors argued he intentionally killed his son to escape his family life

By Emily Crane For Dailymail.com

Published: 20:48 EST, 16 February 2017 | Updated: 07:37 EST, 17 February 2017

The ex-wife of Justin Ross Harris, who was jailed for intentionally leaving their 22-month-old son in a hot SUV to die, says he was a good father and doesn't believe he killed their boy on purpose.

Leanna Taylor has spoken out for the first time on why she supported Harris during his murder trial in Georgia last year and still continues to support him in an interview with ABC's 20/20.

'It never crossed my mind that Ross had done it on purpose. Never. It was an accident,' Taylor said in the interview set to air on Friday night.

Leanna Taylor, the ex-wife of Justin Ross Harris, has spoken out about why she still supports him after he was sentenced to life in prison for intentionally leaving their 22-month-old son Cooper in a hot SUV to die in Georgia in 2014 Leanna Taylor, the ex-wife of Justin Ross Harris, has spoken out about why she still supports him after he was sentenced to life in prison for intentionally leaving their 22-month-old son Cooper in a hot SUV to die in Georgia in 2014

Leanna Taylor, the ex-wife of Justin Ross Harris, has spoken out about why she still supports him after he was sentenced to life in prison for intentionally leaving their 22-month-old son Cooper in a hot SUV to die in Georgia in 2014

Taylor, who divorced Harris last March, said her ex-husband was a loving father to their son Cooper and believes he would never have intentionally killed him Taylor, who divorced Harris last March, said her ex-husband was a loving father to their son Cooper and believes he would never have intentionally killed him

Taylor, who divorced Harris last March, said her ex-husband was a loving father to their son Cooper and believes he would never have intentionally killed him

Harris, 36, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December after a jury found him guilty of malice murder and two counts of felony murder over the death of their son Cooper Harris. 

The little boy died on June 18, 2014 after being left for seven hours in the back of his dad's hot SUV. 

Cooper died on June 18, 2014 after being left for seven hours in the back of his dad's SUV while he was at work in Georgia Cooper died on June 18, 2014 after being left for seven hours in the back of his dad's SUV while he was at work in Georgia

Cooper died on June 18, 2014 after being left for seven hours in the back of his dad's SUV while he was at work in Georgia

Harris said at the time he forgot to drop Cooper off at day care that morning and drove straight to his job as a web developer for Home Depot.

He told police he didn't realize Cooper was still in his car seat until he left work for the day to go to a movie. 

Harris was captured on surveillance cameras going back to his car during his lunch break to return something, before going back to work for the rest of the day.

While authorities argued that Harris going back to his car proved he knew Cooper was still there, his ex-wife said she doesn't see it that way.

'The going back to the car part actually for me solidifies that it wasn't intentional,' she said. 'To me, it said the opposite, that he didn't have a clue Cooper was there.' 

Soon after, investigators found evidence that Harris was having sexual relationships - both online banter and in-person affairs - with numerous women, including a prostitute and a teenager. 

Harris, 36, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December after a jury found him guilty of malice murder and two counts of felony murder over the death of his son Harris, 36, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December after a jury found him guilty of malice murder and two counts of felony murder over the death of his son

Harris, 36, was sentenced to life in prison without parole in December after a jury found him guilty of malice murder and two counts of felony murder over the death of his son

Harris told police he didn't realize Cooper was still in his car seat (pictured above during his trial) until he left his job as a web developer for Home Depot for the day Harris told police he didn't realize Cooper was still in his car seat (pictured above during his trial) until he left his job as a web developer for Home Depot for the day

Harris told police he didn't realize Cooper was still in his car seat (pictured above during his trial) until he left his job as a web developer for Home Depot for the day

Harris' ex-wife took to the stand at his trial to defend him saying he would not have harmed Cooper on purpose despite having troubles in their marriage Harris' ex-wife took to the stand at his trial to defend him saying he would not have harmed Cooper on purpose despite having troubles in their marriage

Harris' ex-wife took to the stand at his trial to defend him saying he would not have harmed Cooper on purpose despite having troubles in their marriage

Evidence showed that Harris sent images of his erect penis to minor females and asked a teen girl to text images of her genitals to him. For that, he was convicted of sexual exploitation of children and dissemination of harmful material to minors.

Prosecutors charged Harris with malice murder over Cooper's death, saying he intentionally killed his son in order to escape the responsibilities of family life.

Taylor took to the stand at Harris' trial to defend him. While she bitterly told the jury that her ex-husband had 'destroyed my life', she said he would not have harmed their son on purpose regardless of how unhappy he was in their marriage.  

'There was evidence in our relationship that would suggest that he would be capable of being unfaithful to me,' Taylor told 20/20. 'There was no evidence in our relationship that suggested that he would harm anyone, much less his own son.

'This was never about me defending Ross. When you get on the stand and you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, that's what you're supposed to do, and that's what I did.

'I couldn't get up there and say he was a bad father because it wasn't true. I couldn't get up and say that he seemed bothered by having a child because it wasn't true.'

Cooper was found dead in his dad's SUV after being left inside in his car seat for seven hours Cooper was found dead in his dad's SUV after being left inside in his car seat for seven hours

Cooper was found dead in his dad's SUV after being left inside in his car seat for seven hours

Prosecutors charged Harris (pictured in 2015) with malice murder over Cooper's death, saying he intentionally killed his son in order to escape the responsibilities of family life Prosecutors charged Harris (pictured in 2015) with malice murder over Cooper's death, saying he intentionally killed his son in order to escape the responsibilities of family life

Prosecutors charged Harris (pictured in 2015) with malice murder over Cooper's death, saying he intentionally killed his son in order to escape the responsibilities of family life

Prosecutors had argued in court that Harris left online clues to murderous intentions. Evidence showed that minutes before Harris locked the car door on his boy, he sent an online message saying: 'I love my son and all, but we both need escapes'.   

Five days earlier, Harris watched an online video in which a veterinarian sits inside a hot car to show it reaches 116 degrees in a half-hour.

Taylor said she was criticized and bullied after her son's funeral when people claimed she seemed unemotional and told others that Cooper seemed to be in a better place.

'Nothing about it felt real. Nothing about it felt like it was happening. It just felt like a bad dream,' Taylor told 20/20.

'There's no way for someone to know how they would react.

'If I could bring Cooper back to me, of course I would bring him back.' 

Watch Taylor's full interview on '20/20' on Friday, February 17 at 10 pm ET.

 

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