Attorneys were in court on May 9, preparing for the trial of Julie Elizabeth Harper, 41, who is accused of shooting her husband Jason, 39, nearly two years ago.
The prosecutor said he hoped the defense might hand over the murder weapon as part of “discovery” or sharing of evidence before trial starts, but defender Paul Pfingst quickly declared, “There was no murder!”
The Carlsbad housewife fired one bullet into her husband the morning of August 2, 2012, while their children played downstairs, the prosecutor asserts. The doctor who performed the autopsy has testified that the bullet entered the left side of Jason’s rib cage, traveling to the right before it lodged in the right side of his chest. The defense attorney claims the wound is not consistent with intentional murder.
The couple’s three children were aged 8, 6, and 18 months at the time of their father’s death. Prosecutor Keith Watanabe has said the children are now fearful of their mother and are potentially witnesses in the upcoming trial.
Julie Harper has been at liberty on bond since September of 2013.
The defense has claimed that husband Jason was “constantly yelling and screaming” and “terrorizing” his wife Julie and their children “virtually every single day.”
Prosecutor Watanabe has suggested that Julie was an abuser of prescription medications and that her children described her as sad, crying a lot, and sleeping most of the day. Testimony and court papers suggest that husband Jason took action to prevent Julie having access to certain bank accounts and credit accounts.
Investigators found a hidden bag that was stuffed with cash and passports that the prosecutor described as a “getaway bag.” The defense attorney instead suggests these items were gathered together because “my client was leaving her husband.” Julie had filed divorce paperwork five days before the fatal shooting.
Investigators have not been able to locate the weapon used in the shooting, according to the prosecutor. A detective said they wanted to find two firearms that are registered to Julie Harper: a .45 caliber European American Arms and a .32 Seecamp.
Defense attorney Paul Pfingst said he would make evidence or “discovery” available to the prosecutor 30 days before trial — which is currently set for June 16. However, Pfingst also said he intends to ask for a “continuance” or delay at the next court hearing on June 3.