5 p.m., May 26
Carlsbad Woman Charged with Shooting Husband
Julie Elizabeth Harper, 39, was charged in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse today with murdering her husband with a gun, last week. She pleaded not guilty through a private defense attorney.
Prosecutor Keith Watanabe said police found her husband dead, face-down on the floor of the couple’s bedroom with a single gunshot wound. Watanabe said Jason Harper, 39, was shot through his left side, and the bullet traveled through his ribs and heart and lodged in the right side of his chest.
Carlsbad police reported finding the body on August 7, after the woman’s attorney phoned them requesting a “welfare check” on persons at their home on Badger Lane in Carlsbad.
It was 3 p.m. the next day when Julie Harper surrendered herself at her parent’s home in another part of San Diego County, with the couple’s three small children.
Prosecutor Watanabe said one of the couple’s children told investigators that Tuesday morning about 9 a.m. the children were playing downstairs when they heard a “thump” from the upstairs master bedroom. Then there was a yell from their father, and when the children ran upstairs, their mother came out of the bedroom and closed the door behind her and told the children that their father fell off a chair.
Prosecutor Keith Watanabe stated that two guns were registered in the name of the wife, and that the deceased had no guns registered in his name. The prosecutor said 38 caliber and 45 caliber and 12-gauge shotgun ammunition was found in the home, but no firearms have been recovered so far.
The victim’s cell phone and wallet are still missing, the prosecutor said in court today. Watanabe said a text was sent from the victim’s cell phone to his brother stating that he was out running errands, but that text was sent just before noon the same day of the shooting, well after the victim was supposedly shot.
The accused, Julie Harper, had filed for divorce in the same courthouse on August 2, five days before her husband’s body was found. Her defense attorney, Paul Pfingst, said he interviewed the couple’s children and they told him that their father had been “screaming” at and “berating” their mother for some time. Attorney Pfingst also said the defendant is suffering from a “debilitating disease,” an “arthritic condition,” for which she is taking pain medications.
Judge Richard Mills set the next court date for August 21, when attorneys are expected to further argue bail. Today the prosecutor asked for $5 million bail, defense asked for $500,000, and Judge Mills set bail at $2 million.