David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
Carlsbad woman is accused of shooting husband while children played downstairs
The mother-in-law of a woman accused of murdering her husband, was in the witness box more than two hours today, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.
Defendant Julie Elizabeth Harper, 39, is accused of shooting her husband Jason Harper, 39, in the bedroom of their Carlsbad home, while their three young children played downstairs, last August.
Lina Harper, mother of the deceased man, said her daughter-in-law Julie became angry with her when Julie Harper was not allowed to act as their real estate agent, when Jason’s parents purchased another home in Carlsbad, in June of this year.
“We didn’t trust her with our financial information,” Mrs. Lina Harper said in court today. She testified that the “main reason” she and her husband acquired this new home was “we knew a divorce was coming” and they wanted to be near, to help care for their three grandchildren and provide a home for their son, Jason.
Jason Harper was a math teacher and occasional volleyball coach at Carlsbad High School, according to testimony.
Testimony from the deceased man's mother Lina and brother Brian suggested that Jason Harper and his family believed that wife Julie was addicted to pain medication, and made unauthorized purchases which Jason was trying to prevent. Lina Harper said her son Jason told her that Julie acted with “extreme retaliation” and “takes revenge and sabotages.”
Prosecutor Keith Watanabe stated in court papers that the morning of August 7, 2012, Jason Harper was planning to buy a replacement part for his computer. Just as he was leaving the house, his wife admitted that she had hidden the missing part under their bed, and Jason went upstairs to retrieve it. The children remained playing downstairs, and then heard a “huge clunk,” and described their father as screaming, the prosecutor alleged.
Testimony from two medical examiners stated that Jason Harper died of a single gunshot, the bullet traveling from his left ribcage through the heart and lodging in the upper right side of his chest. The alleged murder weapon has not been recovered, according to prosecutor Watanabe.
Julie Harper pleads not guilty through her privately retained defense attorney, Paul Pfingst. The preliminary hearing is expected to finish tomorrow, Wednesday, when Honorable Judge Robert Kearney will decide if there is sufficient evidence to order Julie Harper to trial for murder.