Hot Car Trial lead investigator goes on the defensive

Defense questions lead investigator

Cobb County Police Detective Phil Stoddard returned to the stand Tuesday morning, marking his third straight day on the stand as prosecutors delved into the contents of Ross Harris' iPhone. Stoddard is the lead investigator on the case.

Among the notes presented Harris' phone was a page titled "Anatomy of Temptation," with one line that read "Desire > Sin > Death." Other contents of the phone included evidentiary printouts of sexually explicit conversations from the Whisper app. 

RELATED | Police say Harris led 'double life,' which cost little Cooper his life

Prosecutors note that thousands of "filthy images" are on Ross Harris' phone.

Text conversations between Ross Harris and his wife are also shown to the jury as part of Tuesday's evidence.

Later in the morning, defense attorneys began to vigorously cross-examine Stoddard, countering many of the points he had made over the past few days.

A strong difference between the style of query between the prosecution and defense teams can be discerned while watching the attorneys at work.

When asking about the videotape taken inside the police car at the scene, where Ross Harris was handcuffed,  put in the back, and left on his own, and appears to be having a breakdown, for example. 

"I did see something on a video, and it was him yelling and screaming," Stoddard said. "It's similar to other episodes where I've seen him yelling and screaming. I don't believe it was an emotional outburst."

"Objectively, we see Ross having an outburst," said defense attorney Maddox Kilgore. "Objectively, that's what we see."

"Objectively, we see him yelling and screaming, yes," Stoddard said. "You just don't believe it's true. You just don't believe it's true." 

"Or sincere," Kilgore said.

"Correct," Stoddard said.

"If he had cried more or harder, would that make it more sincere to you?" Kilgore asked. 

"If I saw actual evidence -- yes," Stoddard said. "Evidence like tears coming out of your eyes. When we cry, our nose starts to run. If I saw evidence of that, or evidence of anything on his shirt, then yes, I'd be more likely to believe an outburst had occurred."

On Monday a lot of video evidence was presented, including clips of Harris arriving at the Home Depot Treehouse that day and him being questioned by investigators after the death of his son. Detectives also showed a real-time video of the trip from the nearby Chick-fil-A restaurant to Harris' office, and the daycare center -- the trips proved to take less than three minutes.

Another key element on Monday was the presentation of evidence that Harris had recently watched a video that discussed the effects of leaving animals in a hot car. Stoddard read Harris’ words from a transcript which stated, "I watched that (the online video), and that would be terrible if my son was in the car." 

Ross Harris faces a number of charges, including malice murder and felony murder in the June 2014 death of his young son, Cooper. The 22-month-old was found in the backseat of Harris' SUV in a Vinings office park. Harris argues the incident was a tragic accident.

PHOTOS | Ross Harris Hot Car Death Trial - Day 13

 

 

Access previous stories and get in-depth analysis on the Ross Harris trial by clicking here. 

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