MARIETTA, Ga.— A judge denied a motion Monday from lawyers for a father accused of leaving his son in a hot car on purpose to sever his murder charges from other charges related to sexting a minor.

Ross Harris was back in Cobb County Superior Court for additional pretrial hearings in the death of his toddler son, Cooper Harris. His lawyers argued that a separate jury should hear three counts related to sexting an underage girl on the day of his son’s death; Judge Mary Staley said no.

Cobb County police said Harris exchanged explicit pictures with a 17-year-old girl on the day of his son’s death.

In his eight-count indictment:

• Count 6 charged Ross Harris with criminal attempt to comment a felony sexual exploitation of children when he allegedly asked a girl younger than 18 to send him a nude photo.

• Count 7 charged Ross Harris with the dissemination of harmful materials to minors when he sent a minor verbal and narrative accounts of “sexual excitement and sexual conduct.”

• Count 8 charged Ross Harris with a second count of dissemination related to a nude photo sent to an underage girl of his “portion of the human body which depicted explicit nudity.”

The communication between Ross Harris and the girl, whom he had met online when she was 16, happened through a messenger app called Kik, which combines texting with a social network and has 185 million users who are primarily teens. Police said he knew the teen was in high school and mislead her about his real age.

He faces numerous other charges, including malice murder, felony murder and cruelty to children. Police believe the father purposely left his toddler inside a car for seven hours on June 18, 2014, a day when temperatures were in the high 80s in the Atlanta area, so Cooper would die in the heat.

In a pre-trial hearing last month, new details emerged about what Ross Harris told authorities moments after discovering his 22-month-old son dead in the backseat of his car, including that he hurled an expletive at one of the responding officers when she tried to get him off his cellphone. At the end of that hearing, the judge ruled she would allow all statements to be used in the trial.

Defense lawyers kicked off Monday’s hearing by again asking the Staley to ban media from pretrial procedures. She also denied that request.

Ross Harris was indicted in September 2014 and has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have said the child’s death was a tragic accident.

Staley said Monday that she wanted Ross Harris’ trial to begin Feb. 22. His defense team told her that they weren’t sure they could be ready by then.

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