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Georgia Dad in Court in Son's Hot Car Death

Aired July 3, 2014 - 13:30   ET


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Detective, I want to ask you questions about the timeline of the day and the basic facts i don't believe are in dispute. Could you tell the judge, first of all, what time did the child wake up and who was s his father?

PHILIP STODDARD, COBB COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: The child woke -- the family awoke around 6:30 in the morning. The child's father is Justin ross Harris.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Do you see mr. Harris in the courtroom?

STODDARD: Yes, I do. Mr. Harris is sitting at the defendant's table to my left wearing an orange Cobb County jump suit.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Who was the first person to wake up?

STODDARD: The first person to wake up was Justin's wife, Leanna.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what time did she wake up?

STODDARD: Around 6:30.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What time did Cooper, the child, and the defendant wake up? Actually get out of bed?

STODDARD: They got out of bed after 7:00.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Where did Leanna, the mother of the child, go that day?

STODDARD: Leanna left for work about 7:15 this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what did the defendant and Cooper do that morning?

STODDARD: That morning, they sat in bed. He watched some cartoons. Then they got up and got dressed and Justin drove him to work.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, when they drove, did they stop anywhere before getting to the defendant's work?

STODDARD: Yes, they did?


STODDARD: At the Chick-Fil-A located at cumberland Parkway. UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, this morning in speaking with both the

defendant and the mother of this child, was there anything out of the ordinary that morning?

STODDARD: Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How was the child doing?

STODDARD: The child was doing great.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did the child have any medical conditions or anything that affected his abilities to walk, talk, or anything of that nature?

STODDARD: No, everyone has said the child was normal that morning. No medications, no medical conditions, nothing of note.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When the defendant and his wife worked -- they both worked?

STODDARD: They both worked?

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Where did the defendant work.

STODDARD: The defendant worked at the Home Depot?

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And which office with Home Depot did he work at?

STODDARD: He worked at a police called the Tree House, at 2600 cumberland, it's an annex of the store support center.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Where was Cooper taken care of while the defendant and his wife were at work.

STODDARD: It's called Little Apron Academy. It's a day care connected to the store support center on Pesos Ferry Road.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Whose responsibility was it usually to take the child to the day care?

STODDARD: Normally, Justin would take them to the day care.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So the defendant would be the normal person to take him?

STODDARD: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So taking them to day care that day would not have been out of the routine?

STODDARD: Not at all.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When he takes the child in his car, what type of car did the defendant drive?

STODDARD: He had a 2011 hyundai Tucson.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Can you describe that to the judge? What type of car it is?

STODDARD: A four-door suv, but it's a small suv.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what type of car seat did the child -- was the child restrained in.

STODDARD: Cooper was in that morning and most of the morning Cooper was in a rear-facing child seat.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And that rear-facing child seat, was that behind the passengers' side, behind the driver's side or in the middle of the backseat?

STODDARD: It was in the middle of the backseat.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How far or how close -- what was the distance between the driver's seat approximately and the head area end of the car seat?

STODDARD: Six inches at the most.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now you said that the defendant and child stopped at Chick-Fil-A?

STODDARD: They did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Was that out of the ordinary or something they did on special occasions?

STODDARD: No. Justin stated that this happens two, three times a month and it was a daddy-son time, a special occasion for them.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: About what time did they get to Chick-Fil-A?

STODDARD: Around 9:00.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And did you confirm that through the defendant or other means?

STODDARD: Both. The defendant stated that, you know, that i went to Chick-Fil-A first and i was able to pull cash register receipts from the Chick-Fil-A and surveillance video to confirm that.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: On the surveillance video at Chick-Fil-A how did the child appear?

STODDARD: The child appeared wide awake and happy.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: You've heard the defendant and video. Did he appear to be walking around and active that time at Chick-Fil-A?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: After leaving Chick-Fil-A, about what time did they leave the Chick-Fil-A?

STODDARD: About 9:19.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And where did they go from the Chick-Fil-A?

STODDARD: From the Chick-Fil-A they drove right to Justin's work, 2600 cumberland.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What is the distance from the Chick-Fil-A to his place of work?

STODDARD: Approximately .6 miles.


STODDARD: Not even a mile.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now when the defendant -- is there a stoplight where he ends up having to make a decision about whether to turn to go to the day care or go to work?

STODDARD: There is.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And about how far from the Chick-Fil-A is that stoplight?

STODDARD: A tenth of a mile, two-tenths of a mile.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And how would you get to that stoplight coming from the Chick-Fil-A?

STODDARD: Coming from the Chick-Fil-A you make an immediate right- hand turn. You then take a U-turn in front of the Home Depot and immediately move over to the left-hand lane to take a left turn on to pesos ferry.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What time did the -- did you confirm what time the defendant arrived at work?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what time was that?

STODDARD: Around 4:25.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And how did you confirm that?

STODDARD: Through time stamp on surveillance video from that parking lot.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What time did the defendant leave work that day?

STODDARD: The defendant left work that day before -- it would be 4:15, 4:16 p.m.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: In talking with witnesses at Home Depot did you determine where he was going after he left work that day?

STODDARD: After he left work that day he was going to meet up with a couple of his friends and go see a movie.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What time was the movie they were going see?

STODDARD: A 5:00 movie.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Do you remember what the movie was?

STODDARD: "22 Jump Street."

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did the defendant actually make it to the movie theater?

STODDARD: He did not.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How far is it from the workplace where he left at 4:16 that afternoon to the place where his car eventually stopped?

STODDARD: Less than two miles.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And how far would the movie theater have been for the place where he stopped?

STODDARD: Not far. A couple minutes at the most.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When the defendant arrived or pulled over from the evidence that you have, what did he do?

STODDARD: When the defendant pulled over at the Akers Mill, he pulled directly into the shopping center, Akers Mill Shopping Center and parked his car in the middle of the roadway. He exited his vehicle and popped up the rear door to his vehicle. He entered into the rear door, removed Cooper from the car seat, removed Cooper from the car seat and placed him on the pavement next to the vehicle. He got down next Cooper.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Let me ask you this. What was confirmed from the law enforcement and witnesses on scene, what was the condition of Cooper when he was pulled out of that car and placed on the pavement?

STODDARD: Cooper was deceased.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did you actually get a timeline and interview the defendant?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: You and other detectives interviewed several other witnesses and pulled a great deal of in evidence this case?

STODDARD: That is correct. UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: I'm going to talk to you a little bit first

about the defendant's -- the reports of his behavior at the scene of the crime, OK? Or the scene of where they pulled the car over. What type of establishment is this? You said it was a business area?

STODDARD: It's like a strip mall.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what was the stores or area that he pulled into near?

STODDARD: He pulled in near next to like a restaurant.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did you or another officer speak with the first person to come into exact the defendant?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what was his name, if you remember.

STODDARD: Anthony Lonamo.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Based on his description and other descriptions, other witnesses, how did the defendant appear and how did he act when he pulled over and got out of the car.

STODDARD: The witnesses, everyone described that he pulled into it at a high rate of speed and they heard squealing tires when the vehicle came to a stop and Justin immediately exited the vehicle, he seemed upset. His behavior was considered erratic by many of the witnesses. He would be yelling and screaming, "oh, my god, what have i done? My child is dead." And then he would stop and just have a blank look on his face and just stand there. When he pulled Cooper out of the vehicle he placed them down on the hot pavement --


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When he did that, did anyone assist him in getting the child out to the pavement?

STODDARD: Yes, Anthony did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When they did that, how did Anthony describe the defendant's behavior when they put the child on the pavement?

STODDARD: When they put the child on the pavement he said it looked like Justin was messing around. He didn't know what Justin was doing and he goes, "We need to do CPR, we need to do something for the child." Justin kind of looked at him and then he just stopped?


STODDARD: Anthony started CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When Anthony started CPR on the defendant's son what did the defendant do?

STODDARD: When Anthony started, the defendant stood up, walked to the other side of the vehicle and got on his phone.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When the defendant, after he separated himself from the child and got on the phone, did he appear to be to the witnesses talking on the phone?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did you talk to officers who actually encountered him?

STODDARD: Yes, i did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What did they say he was doing on the phone?

STODDARD: He stated he was telling somebody on the phone that his child had died.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, when you spoke with the defendant, what did he say about actually speaking to somebody on the phone?

STODDARD: He stated he had not gotten anybody on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Have you reviewed preliminarily his phone logs.


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What did those reflect?

STODDARD: They reflected the phone calls.


STODDARD: The first phone call was to Leanna. It looked like it was a missed phone call. The second phone call was to the Home Depot corporate center, their main number. And there was a third phone number to the Home Depot corporate center and it appeared that this phone number went through and on his records it said six minutes worth of conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Were you able to track back to where that would have gone to, this call to the Home Depot center?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And where would that be?

STODDARD: Toddler room five at little apron's academy where Cooper attended school.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So you have phone records suggesting he was on the phone for five or six minutes, the officers stating he was talking to somebody on the phone.

STODDARD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did you confront him with this when he said he was not talking to anybody?



STODDARD: He said he wasn't talking to anybody on the phone.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: OK, let's talk about -- did you ask the defendant how this could occur?



STODDARD: His excuse was he fell asleep.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Let's talk about that. You stated that at a Chick-Fil-A, he was active, talking, walking, waving to people. Did the defendant tell you how he secured the child back into that car seat and what happened when he did that at the Chick-Fil-A?

STODDARD: He did. Justin took Cooper out to the car. He went into the backseat where the car seat was situated. It's a rear ff facing car seat so Cooper's head would be in between or almost in between the two front seats. He put Cooper in the vehicle, he stated he strapped him in tight, he went through a lilt spiel about how he'd watched youtube videos about car seat regulations and stuff and he knew this was the right car seat and the right way of doing it and he straps him in tight and Cooper gives him a kiss and he gives him a kiss back and he says he always gives him a kiss in case they get into a car accident and he dies. He wanted Cooper -- his last memory, Cooper to remember that he loved and that his daddy loved him.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So he straps him in before driving away and he's kissing him, his son is kissing him back and they're having a conversation?

STODDARD: That's correct.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: You talked about this U-turn and then going a light where you make a decision either to go to work or turn to the day care.

STODDARD: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: The U-turn, how far is it to get from the Chick-Fil-A to this U-turn?

STODDARD: Seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When you get to this U-turn, what direction would he have had to turn to see the on coming traffic and make the turn.

STODDARD: A left hand U-turn. He would have had to look to his right. UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what is to his right?

STODDARD: It would have been the car seat which is visible in between the two seats.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: I know we here in a probable cause hearing. Did you take photographs in this case?

STODDARD: Hundreds.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: I'm going show you two. Do you think they would help Judge cox?

STODDARD: Yes, i do.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: I'm going to show you what i've already marked for identification purposes and shown to defense counsel states exhibits 1 and 2.

May i approach, Judge?



Do you recognize states exhibits 1 and 2?

STODDARD: Yes. These are photos it appears from the crime scene at Akers Mill.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And are do those fairly and accurately represent the car and the car seat at the scene where the car was left?

STODDARD: They do.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Your Honor, i would enter states exhibits 1 and 2.


UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: Admitted without objection.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: First, before publishing states exhibit 1 to the judge, we explain, can you actually see from outside the car looking through the window the car seat before you even get into the car?

STODDARD: You can.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And states exhibit 2, does that look like where the car seat is in proximity to the driver in that car?

STODDARD: Yes, it does.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Is that consistent with your description of inches?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: You can publish those to the judge. Thank you.

From the time he left the chick fill flay-to-that light where he had to make that decision have you driven that distance?



STODDARD: 10 at least.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How long does it take to get from having left the Chick-Fil-A parking lot to that light?

STODDARD: 30 to 40 seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: 30 to 40 seconds from the time he's strapped his child in, kissed him and then he says forgot?

STODDARD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, the defendant you said stated that he must have fallen asleep. Did you speak to day care centers about how the child acted when he went to day care?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How did the day care workers describe his behavior when they go to Chick-Fil-A.

STODDARD: Cooper would be awake walking in, he spent some time with his dad, he'd be happy.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, the time it takes -- you said 30 seconds to that stoplight. How long would it take to get to the spot where he actually parked?

STODDARD: From the light to there, less than two minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, when you talk to the defendant about what he did that day, did you talk to him about what he did while he was driving the car to work from Chick-Fil-A and then when he parked?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did he say he was doing anything out of the ordinary?

STODDARD: No, and we asked him were you on the cell phone, were you talking to somebody, were you on the computer, was there any other distractions? And he said no.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When he parked how did he park? Did he pull straight into his space or something else?

STODDARD: When he pulls from the parking lot he pulls past the space. After he pulls past the space he goes into reverse and he backs up and when he backs up he backs up in between two cars that were parked in the row behind him and then he pulls forward into the parking space.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And the parking space he pulls into, what, is to the left? If i am the person driving to the car, what is to my left?

STODDARD: If it's the person driving to your left it's another car.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Is the driver side on the other side of the defendant's car?

STODDARD: No, the driver's side if we turn to your left you'll have a parked car and then the defendant's car and then to the right is a grassy area.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: OK, so the right is actually a grassy area with no cars or anything.

STODDARD: Now did his car have a backing camera or anything like that that would have assisted him when he stopped, pulled back and backs up to pull in?

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Nothing that i could get to turn on.

STODDARD: So what would he have had to do to back up?

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: He would have to look in the rear-view mirror and use both his side mirrors.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, you stated that he said he wasn't on the phone or anything like that when he parked. When he got out -- when he parked the car, did he immediately get out?

STODDARD: No, he did not.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did he take anything to work with him that day?

STODDARD: Yes, he did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What did he take with him to work?

STODDARD: He had a large computer bag.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did he tell you where he reached to get that bag?

STODDARD: The large computer bag sits in front of the passenger's seat in the front of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Which way would he have had to turn to pick that up? STODDARD: He would have had to turn to his right, lean over the

center console and pick up the computer bag there the right side of the car.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what would have been right there?

STODDARD: It would have been Cooper's car seat.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, you're talking about -- we've seen the pictures of Cooper's car seat. I guess you know that -- how tall, how long Cooper was at the time of death.

STODDARD: Yes. I did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did you get some type of demonstrative aid to help you and law enforcement see how a child would fit into that car seat?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How would Cooper's head have appeared in that car seat?

STODDARD: The mannequin we chose was, you know, the same size. The head was clearly visible poking up over the car seat.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And did that demonstrative aid, was that shorter than Cooper?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did it have hair like Cooper had?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And after he got his laptop bag, did the defendant immediately get out of the car?

STODDARD: He did not.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So after he parks, how long does the defendant sit in his car before he actually exits to go in the building?

STODDARD: It's around 30 seconds from the time he parks the vehicle to the time he gets out and shuts the door.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So he's sitting in there 30 seconds?

STODDARD: Yes, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, you talked about the defendant talking about his car seat and how it was the correct one, height, weight, things like that. Have you actually looked into this car seat and looked at the owner's manual?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: OK. Is he within the requirements or did Cooper exceed the requirements of the car seat?

STODDARD: He exceeded the requirements by several inches. No

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, he talked about his day. Did the defendant talk to you about what he went to lunch that day?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What did he go do for lunch?

STODDARD: Two of his friends picked him up, went to lunch,

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did he say about what time he got back? Was he able to give you a definite time?

STODDARD: He said they left about 12: 30 and left like 11: 30, back around 12: 30.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: While you're talking to the defendant, does he obviously know why he's there?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: You've already talked to him about the fact his child had been left in the car and that's what he's talking to you about.

STODDARD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: At any time, did he ever mention he had returned to that car during the day?

STODDARD: No, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did you find that he had?

STODDARD: Yes, i did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How did you determine that?

STODDARD: We pulled surveillance video for the entire day. That the car was parked in the parking lot. And upon reviewing the surveillance video, around 12: 42, we see a green car pull up in front of Justin's car.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Now, let me stop you there. Did you eventually find out where he had gone during lunch that he had left out?

STODDARD: Yes, sir.


STODDARD: He had gone to Publix, the UPS Store and Home Depot. And he had purchased two boxes of light bulbs.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So when he comes back to the car, what does he do? First of all, you said a car pulls up. What happens?

STODDARD: The car pulls up, and from interviewing the two friends, he went to lunch with, they pull up, he gets out of the car, they immediately take off. You can see him walk up to the car. He approaches the car from the driver's side. Approaches his car. Opens up the driver's side door, and he kind of tosses the light bulbs inside. He's all the way inside the frame but tosses the light bulb inside the car.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Does he approach from the rear or the front?

STODDARD: From the left-hand side. Kind of an angle, judge.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Is that angle consistent with that photograph the judge has?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Where he can see the car seat?

STODDARD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That calls for speculation. I object to that.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: I just asked if it's consistent, judge.


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When he approaches, does it appear -- is this video -- can you describe to the judge how it appears he reaches in and where his head is?

STODDARD: When he reaches in, he comes up, he opens up the door. And as he's reaching in, turns his head a little bit. He's in there, he has a clear view, and he kind of turns his head and then just tosses the light bulbs into the car.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: After he does that, does he hang out at the car very long or anything of that nature?



STODDARD: He shuts the door, turns around and immediately starts walking into the Home Depot.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: At some point, as he's walking back away from that car, does anyone else walk by him and how does he react?

STODDARD: It appears another -- we'll say another person -- passes him, walking towards his car, as he's walking away from his car. As that person approaches him, he stops. He kind of stands there for a little bit as the guy walks past him. You can see that man walk up towards his car. He starts a little bit, Justin starts a little bit, he stops. The guy walks past the car and Justin gets on the phone and goes inside the Home Depot.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: During this day, did the defendant get any e-mails from the daycare?

STODDARD: Yes. He received a group from the -- his teacher, Cooper's teacher, michelle Gray, and that came in around 1:30 p.m.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Let's talk a little bit about the movies. You said he was going to the movies and his co-workers corroborated that.


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What time was the movie they were going to see.


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Do you have the defendant's phone records and logs?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: From looking at the log -- let me ask you this. Do you have the phone records from his provider?

STODDARD: We do not.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And how long do you think it will be before you get those?

STODDARD: AT&T could be six weeks or more.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: But you've been able to look at his phone?

STODDARD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Looking at his phone, were you -- did you see any phone calls?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Who were the phone calls between, and what time? Approximately.

STODDARD: He made -- are we talking about the phone calls made that afternoon or -- there's no phone calls made during the day.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: OK. Approaching 4:00, were there phone calls between the defendant and his wife?

STODDARD: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: OK. Tell the judge a little bit about that.

STODDARD: Around 4:00, he receives a phone call from his wife, Leanna. They play phone tag, he receives one, misses it, he calls her back and he calls her a third time and actually gets through to her. And they have about a minute -- little over a minute phone call, phone conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And was that phone call the day they had the conversation with, was that at 4:00 p.m.?

STODDARD: Yes, it is.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did the defendant mention getting texts from his wife that afternoon as well?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did his phone reflect anything about texts from his wife?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: The tickets to this 5:00 movie, were they going to have to purchase tickets when they got there or are they already been purchased?

STODDARD: No. One of his friends owed him money and stated he bought his ticket and Justin knew about it.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: At any point during the afternoon, did he talk to one of his co-workers about when he was going to arrive at the movie theater?

STODDARD: Around 3:45. He does contact through -- it's like an inner office or I.M., possibly google Chat. But they're chatting back and forth. And around 3:45, let them know he was going to be late to the movie.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So he said he was going to be late to the movie.

STODDARD: Correct.


STODDARD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Was that in any way different from what the defendant told you in his statement?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What did the defendant tell you about going to the movies and whether he was going to be early or late?

STODDARD: The defendant stated he had left early. He had left work early to get to the movies and beat the after work rush.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What time did he actually leave work again?

STODDARD: He left work about 4:16 p.m.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: How long does it take to get to the movie theatre from there?

STODDARD: Less than 10 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And was there immediately after having that phone conversation with his wife? Within nine minutes or so?

STODDARD: Within nine minutes or so.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: So he tells co-workers he's going to be late, tells you he wanted to leave to be early. This was a wednesday afternoon?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: OK. Let's talk about his demeanor during his interview with you. Would you tell the judge a little bit about his demeanor and whether it seemed odd to you in any way?

STODDARD: His demeanor would actually -- would fluctuate also. He started off trying to work himself up, and we're watching him on the camera as he's doing this. He's walking around and rubbing his eyes and you know -- it looked like he was trying to hyper vent late himself and then just stop. Stop and walk over and sat and looked through -- we had a map on the wall covering up a two-way mirror and he looks at the map. He would sit up, stand down, sit back down. No tears, no, you know, real emotion coming out of him, except for the huffing, i would put it.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: During -- when you talked to him, did he give any background. He used to work in law enforcement.

STODDARD: Yes, he did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Would you tell the judge about that. Have you determined exactly what it was he did?

STODDARD: We have received two stories now. We received a story that he worked as a jailer and then we received a story that he worked as a dispatcher. In his own words to me on the interview, he worked for five years as a dispatcher down in tuscaloosa, alabama.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When he spoke with you, did he -- i i don't want you to take offense at this but did he use cop language with you?

STODDARD: Yes. He would sit there and he would say, you know, like alpha bravo. Everything would be spelled out in phonetics.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And through the time you're talking with him about his son and the son's death, did you ever see any tears coming from him?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Let's talk about his wife and the statements she gave. When -- i assume she was supposed to show up at the daycare to pick up Cooper, correct?

STODDARD: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: What time did she actually show up there?

STODDARD: She showed up around -- about 4:51.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: When she showed up, according to witnesses at the daycare, did she make any comments that were -- seemed out of the ordinary.

STODDARD: She did. Once she walked into the daycare, she walked into Cooper's classroom, where she ran into michelle. And she asked, you know, what are you doing here? And Leanna is like, "i'm here to pick up Cooper." And they're like, "Ross never dropped Cooper off." And she's like -- just got really calm. And she's like, well, i don't know what to do. They walked back out into the lobby and, in front of several witnesses, all of a sudden she states, "Ross must have left him in the car." And they're like, what? There's no other -- no other reason -- no other explanation, excuse me. "Ross must have left him in the car." And they tried to console her. And they're like, "No, you know, there's a thousand reasons. He could have taken him to lunch or something. We don't know yet." And she's like no.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Eventually, did she speak with law enforcement back at the Tree House, the place where the defendant worked?

STODDARD: She did.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: OK. When police spoke with her there, did they say anything about the reaction at the scene?

STODDARD: Her reaction at the scene, she didn't show any emotion when they asked her or when they notified her of Cooper's death. She did make a statement that, you know, this was her worst nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And after being told that he was deceased, did she ask to see her son or anything like that?


UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Who does she ask to see?

STODDARD: She asked to see her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Did officers witness a phone call from her mother to her?



UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what did they describe happened during this conversation?

STODDARD: The officer stated that while they were talking to Leanna, she either received or made a phone call from her mom. And she described it as -- the officers detected -- i'm sorry -- described it as -- she just started screaming. And what do you mean Cooper is no longer here. What do you mean. And during this conversation with all of this emotion coming out --

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: Who is the emotion coming from?

STODDARD: The emotion is coming from her mom or who she identified as her mom. And during this, she is like, "Why aren't you crying, why aren't you reacting to this"?

UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTOR: And what did Leanna say?

STODDARD: She said, "I must be in shock."

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: How would they hear the other conversation?

STODDARD: It was so loud, Judge. Such an outburst, I would put it.