Leave the wife alone. Many of you should admit it. You think there's "something suspicious" about her.
You're not alone. The police say they have "barely scratched the surface" on the investigation into Cooper Harris' death in a hot car, and a lot of us have decided that Leanna Harris, his mom, was somehow involved. At the time I'm writing this, she has not been charged with a crime, she is not a suspect, she is not the focus of the investigation -- she's just one of the many witnesses being scrutinized by the police, as she should be.
But she shouldn't be indicted before the facts come out.
It's tempting to rush to judgment in a tragedy. We tend to make a gut call and then use the details in a story to try to prove that our initial call was right. I agree with those who are skeptical: The sexting dad Justin Ross Harris, who left the boy in the car, appears to have dug himself a pretty deep hole. Until we hear his side of the story, he'll probably remain there. But before you judge Leanna Harris, consider these eight points.
Her emotional state is irrelevant.
Interpreting emotional reactions is an extremely subjective business. Justin Ross Harris was crying in court during the probable cause hearing, yet nobody is arguing that his tears are proof he made a mistake. Many have pointed out Leanna's stoic, gum-chomping face in court as "suspicious." Try this interpretation. She's pissed. Listening to evidence that your husband was sending photos of his penis to other women isn't going to send most women into tears, she's probably chewing the gum to keep herself from standing up and throwing something at him.
Perhaps that's what she meant when, as police say, she asked her husband "Did you say too much?" It might refer to saying too much about their marital problems and financial difficulties that were playing out in court.
And more important: Everyone grieves differently. Police questioned her lack of emotion and an officer testified that Leanna Harris' mother asked her "Why aren't you crying?"
I can tell you why she's not crying: She's in shock.
She is emotionally and mentally processing a lot.
Her baby is dead. She is learning the horrible details about how Cooper suffered: scratching his face and banging his head against the seat as he slowly died.
Her husband is in jail for murder.
Her husband was also sexting with several women.
Her marital and financial troubles have been exposed for the world to see.
The world media is parked at her front door and filming her every move.
How is she supposed to act in the wake of that avalanche? Lord only knows. I'm sure she's a hot mess of rage, fear, grief, shock and everything in between.
Her Internet searches about hot car deaths mean nothing.
Thousands of things new parents do might strike the rest of us as strange: they buy fabric inserts for shopping carts because they are germophobes, they boil every bottle, throw out pacifiers that drop on the floor. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a mother searching for information about a subject she's worried about. After hearing about Cooper's horrible death and that 44 children died last year in hot cars, you might have searched for information about it. I know I did.
"I love you Ross, I'm doing this for you."
At first that statement during her eulogy seemed really strange. What exactly is she "doing" for him? But look at the context. She called him a "wonderful father" and is clearly standing by him. She stood up there in front of 250 people with her son in a tiny casket and had the strength to give a eulogy on behalf of both of them. She talked about how much she loved Cooper, about God, about Cooper being in "the most peaceful, wonderful place there is" and about how she was relying on her faith to give her strength.
I refuse to believe the accomplice theories.
You can convince me that an individual might be sick enough to kill his or her spouse and child to run off with a mistress, but the idea of a couple trying to fix their marital problems by killing their child strains belief.