Leanna Taylor, the ex-wife of Justin Ross Harris, spoke to ABC News about their son Cooper‘s death. Harris is in prison, convicted of murdering Cooper by intentionally leaving the 22-month-old child in a hot car to die. Taylor broke her silence after last year’s trial, in an interview that will air on ’20/20’ Friday night. A preview aired on ‘Good Morning America’ this morning.
Despite a jury finding Harris guilty of killing her son after a lengthy trial in November, Taylor still believes Cooper’s death was an accident. “It never crossed my mind that Ross had done it on purpose,” she said. “It was an accident.” Harris was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Taylor testified in Harris’ defense at the trial, and continues to insist he did not intentionally murder their son on that fateful day in June 2o14. Still, she harbors no love for Harris, who was having multiple affairs while they were still married. In addition to murder, Harris was convicted of offenses related to sending and soliciting sexual images with an underage girl. At the trial, several women testified regarding relationships they had with him while he was married.
Harris eventually apologized for everything, Taylor said, “for not protecting our son that day, for not being faithful to me.” She was angry at the time, and thinks he should be punished, but not for murder. While she thinks Harris is responsible for Cooper’s death, she doesn’t believe he planned it. Taylor addressed a conversation between herself and Harris at the police station after Cooper’s death had drawn suspicion. She had asked him, “Did you say too much?” leading some to believe that Cooper’s death was indeed intentional. Taylor explained that she knew Harris to be overly talkative, and wondered if he might have said something to lead police to think he killed Cooper on purpose. Still, she insists that what happened that day was unintentional.
“There was no evidence in our relationship that he would harm anyone,” she said, “much less his own son.”
That’s why Taylor took the stand in Harris’ defense at the trial. “When you take the stand and 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.”
[Image via ABC screengrab]