BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Jurors heard from four daycare employees Thursday who all described Ross Harris as an "involved" dad and Cooper as an fun-loving little boy.
The Cobb County father is accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, in a hot car to die. The defense claims the child's death was an accident.
Thursday's testimony began with four employees from Little Apron's Academy Daycare Center in Vinings, where Cooper attended.
Melony Gibson is the executive Director of the child care center. She described Harris as gregarious and his wife Leanna as reserved. She also told jurors she loved Cooper like family.
"He was an affable child," Gibson said. "Talkative, very calm, easy to get along, just a normal about to be 2-year-old."
The state called toddler teachers Keyatta Patrick, Azure Hawkins and Michelle Gray to the stand. Teacher Patrick told jurors Harris was an active father who spent quality time with his son. Patrick did say she noticed one thing that was odd.
"Ross would take photos of Cooper all the time, but about two weeks before his death he stopped and I thought it was strange," she testified. When she asked the defendant why he stopped, he told her Cooper was getting older.
Perhaps, the most interesting exchanged took place when teacher Azure Hawkins was on the stand. Prosecutors asked Hawkins if Harris was sexting underage girls and prostitutes, would Harris have shared that? She said no.
Under cross examination, the defense asked Hawkins if that subject matter would have been appropriate given her relationship with the Harris? She said no. The defense went on to get the teacher to say she knew Ross loved his son? She responded affirmatively.
The prosecution appeared to score points when Attorney Chuck Boring asked, "Did he also act like he loved his wife?"
Ms. Hawkins responded, "yes."
Lastly, teacher Michelle Gray told jurors Leanna Harris was "frantic and confused" when she found out Little Cooper was never dropped off by his father at daycare. We also learned during cross examination that Cobb police asked Ms. Gray if she was in a relationship with Harris after phone records showed Harris called the daycare the day Cooper died and talked to someone for 6 minutes.
Court recessed about around 11:45 a.m. for the day because prosecutors did not have witnesses ready due to the storm interruption.
Wednesday's testimony began with two employees from the Vinings Chick-fil-A, including the former general manager Charles Christopher Redmon. Harris had taken his son to the fast-food chain the morning of the toddler's death.
Redmon said he waved hello to Cooper that morning before Harris sat down and ate with his son. He said Harris was always friendly to him and seemed to love his son.
The State then called Peyton Barwisk to the stand, a paramedic with Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service.
Barwisk said when he arrived to the scene Harris was already in the back of the cop car and no one was doing CPR on Cooper.
"There was no one around the body," said Barwisk, who described Harris as "dry" with no emotion.
Cobb County Police Captain James Ferrel was called upon next. He described the "smell of death" from Cooper's body at the scene.
Last week, the prosecution displayed graphic photos of the scene. As the images were shown, Harris buried his head in his hands, appearing to cry. Several of the jurors closed their eyes as well.
Several witnesses also testified about what they observed that day in 2014.
The case originally was supposed to go to trial in Cobb County in April of this year, but after three weeks of jury selection, the judge approved the defense's request to move the trial out of the county because of pretrial publicity, eventually settling on the coastal city of Brunswick.