Ben McRea stood up for Justin Ross Harris at his wedding but he had strong words against Ross on Friday.
Ross is charged with murder for allegedly leaving his son, Cooper, to die in a hot SUV in Atlanta.
In a picture posted on Ross Harris' Flickr page, Ben McRea is seen with his then very close friend Harris celebrating an Alabama win at the Tuscaloosa airport in 2009. Three years earlier, McRea was a groomsman in Ross' wedding.
"Ross was family to me. I loved him like a brother," McRea said.
Fast forward to one month ago, June 18, the day Ross' son Cooper died in a blazing hot SUV just outside of Atlanta.
"At first when it was being reported as an accident, I felt so terrible for him," McRea told FOX6 News.
Now, McRea says he is stunned over shocking allegations about Ross revealed by the prosecution at a preliminary hearing earlier this month.
Authorities alleged that Ross sexted multiple women while Cooper was in the hot car,
conducted online searches about child hot car deaths and about living a child-free life.
"It was sickening. It really broke my heart. It was really totally against the type of moral character I thought he had. I'm just totally disgusted with his behavior, ashamed, very ashamed," McRea said. "It's almost like he's a monster and I'm like what happened? When did you become this person that we see on TV now? Or were you always like this and just hid it that well?"
McRea said Copper didn't deserve to die and that's why he's speaking out. McRea wants to make sure people understand the reality of this tragic situation.
"I just don't want baby Cooper to be forgotten. I want there to be justice for the suffering. What he had to go through," McRea said.
McRae told FOX6 News he and some friends have left fresh flowers at Cooper's gravesite in Tuscaloosa. McRea also left a red toy fire engine. We're told red was a color Cooper just learned before he died.
Ross Harris has been charged with Cooper's death and pleaded not guilty to murder and child cruelty charges. Harris is being held without bond in a Cobb County, Georgia jail until he stands trial.
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