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COBB COUNTY, Ga. — The Georgia father whose 22-month-old son died after being left in a hot car has been indicted for murder by a Cobb County, Ga., grand jury, his attorney said Thursday.

The grand jury indicted Justin Ross Harris on eight charges, including malice murder, felony murder and cruelty to children. The malice murder charge indicates that prosecutors intend to prove Harris intentionally left his son Cooper in the hot car to die.

The indictment also includes charges related to sexually explicit exchanges prosecutors say Harris had with an underage girl.

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Harris, 33, was arrested after his son Cooper was found dead in the back seat of Harris' hot car on June 18. He has been in jail ever since.

He claimed he forgot to drop his son off at daycare the morning the boy died.

"Today was another step in a long process," Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds said. "We look forward to the case running its course and, ultimately, justice being served in this matter."

Harris will be arraigned in the next few weeks, and Reynolds said he will decide before then whether to seek the death penalty.

In June, police had charged Harris with felony murder and second-degree child cruelty — charges that imply negligence but not intent. Harris had pleaded not guilty to those charges. The new charges supersede those.

During a probable cause hearing on the previous charges in July, a police detective testified that Harris sexted several women while Cooper was in the SUV parked outside his father's Home Depot office. Home Depot has since terminated Harris.

Thursday's indictment also accuses Harris of asking a girl under the age of 18 to send him a nude photo and of sending nude photos of himself and sexually explicit messages to her. It charges him with attempting to sexually exploit a child and with disseminating harmful material to a minor.

It also was revealed during the hearing that Harris and his wife, Leanna, had two life insurance policies on the toddler.

A judge denied bond for Harris, saying he would stand trial on the charges.

During the course of the investigation into Cooper's death, police said both Harris and his wife researched hot-car deaths. Leanna Harris has hired a criminal defense attorney, but no charges have been filed against her.

Contributing: Julie Wolfe, WXIA-TV, Atlanta; The Associated Press

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