Julie Harper showed the jury how her husband came at her with arms raised.
  • Julie Harper showed the jury how her husband came at her with arms raised.
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Forty-one-year-old accused murderer Julie Harper was in the witness box all day yesterday, September 24.

She said she began the morning of August 7, 2012, with another argument with her husband; he was angry, she claimed, because she had hidden part of his computer, again.

“And he said, ‘I am so sick and tired of you hiding my shit.’” Harper said she eventually showed her husband, Jason Harper, 39, where she put his computer tower, under her bed.

She said their emotional confrontation continued until she ended it with a single shot from the derringer she kept in bed with her, at their home on Badger Lane in Carlsbad. She and her husband had been sleeping separately for some time.

The couple was in the master bedroom of their home while their three children were downstairs playing and watching cartoons on television. It was a little after 8 a.m.

Julie told the jury that after her husband called her a “fat pig” and “fucking bitch” — as he had many times before — he then started to pull her clothes off and she feared he was going to rape her, so she rushed to where she kept a loaded handgun, under the pillow of her bed.

“So he was coming forward at me with his arms raised at the edge of the bed,” Julie told the jury. She explained that it all happened so fast, in split seconds.

“I was holding my gun at that point, very tightly.” She said she feared that her husband, who was 6 feet 6 inches tall, would try to take the gun from her, or maybe bat it away. “So I told him, ‘Stop!’ And then, ‘Stay back!’

“And, next thing I know, I’m feeling my hand jerk and my arm move and hearing loud noise, and then he’s for a second still coming forward at me and then suddenly he froze and everything just stopped.”

Jason was found face down at the foot of her bed. He died of a single gunshot wound; the bullet had traveled through his heart and then lodged in his right front chest.

Prosecutor Keith Watanabe asked Julie if her husband ever saw the gun. She claimed that he was in a “position” to see the gun, but she didn’t know if he actually saw the gun. Watanabe asked if Jason had any reaction to the gun in her hand. Julie replied, “I don’t remember his reaction” and “I don’t know that I saw a reaction” and “I don’t remember any change.”

The prosecutor seemed to mock Julie’s characterization of her husband’s arms in the air, describing it as a “Frankenstein” pose, and then he asked the defendant to show this pose to the jury.

Julie first demonstrated in the witness box by raising her arms, and then she stepped down to show the jury by using the second prosecutor as a mannequin, and she posed his arms in the air while they were in front of the jury box.

Defense positions seem to include: Julie did not mean to pull the trigger; Julie was a victim of repeated rapes by her husband (she estimated perhaps 30 rapes over the past few years) and she feared that she would be raped again that morning; and, Jason flew into a rage after Julie told him that morning she had filed for divorce just days earlier.

Julie said of her husband: “I just believe he was a very angry and abusive man.”

Prosecution suggests that Julie was a woman who deteriorated over her ten-year marriage; that Julie was abusing prescription drugs so much in years 2011 and 2012 that she often did not leave her bed or her home and was becoming a recluse; in the days before the shooting, Julie committed fraud by going to several banks to take many thousands of dollars from her husband’s separate accounts and her children’s college funds, and she was hoarding cash.

After she shot her husband, Julie said their children came to the master bedroom and knocked at the door twice and asked about the noise, but she sent them away. Eventually she dressed and took the children to a coffee shop for pastries, Julie told the jury. She said she was trying to make the day “normal” for them.

Julie Harper was in the witness box three days this week (September 22–24). The jury has heard seven days of evidence over the past two weeks and closing arguments are expected tomorrow, Friday, September 26.

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Comments

Eva Knott Sept. 25, 2014 @ 3:53 p.m.

Scott, no one is going to see that if you run the word THE and the word RAPIST together you get the word THERAPIST. Isn't there a movie you should be watching?

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Eva Knott Sept. 25, 2014 @ 4:26 p.m.

In this photo, lead prosecutor Keith Watanabe watches as defendant Julie Harper positions second prosecutor Clayton Carr to demonstrate how her husband appeared when he was approaching her. Judge Blaine Bowman presides over jury trial in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse.

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Eva Knott Sept. 26, 2014 @ 1:23 p.m.

Prosecutor Keith Watanabe began his closing arguments to the jury this morning, September 26, 2014. He will continue after the lunch break. Watanabe challenged the truthfulness of Julie Harper's testimony, and suggested there was conspiracy between Julie Harper and her father to hide evidence. Defense attorney Paul Pfingst made some objections, but the judge mostly advised defense to address their concerns during their argument, expected later this afternoon.

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QueenMe Sept. 26, 2014 @ 5:13 p.m.

She just might be guilty as he!!, but I think the creep husband married her for her money and once she was no longer working because of the kids (possibly postpartum depression), he became frustrated, nasty and vicious. Therefore, I hope she walks.

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Eva Knott Sept. 26, 2014 @ 6 p.m.

Paul Pfingst began his closing argument this afternoon, September 26, but did not finish, so this case will continue Monday morning.
The defense attorney warned the jury that prosecution's proposed motive of "anger, bitterness and spite" is a "fabrication." Pfingst seemed astonished, and declared that Watanabe “just made it up, the darnedest thing!” And the criminal defense expert further declared: “Attorneys can say anything!”

Defense seemed to be addressing prosecution's allegation that defendant Julie Harper lied in the witness box, when he reminded the jury: The burden never shifts to the defense to prove anything.

Pfingst suggested to jurors: “Forget murder one or murder two” and rather to consider the lesser, manslaughter options.

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Rasa Sept. 27, 2014 @ 10:49 a.m.

Isn't the point of the "burden not shifting to the defense" the time honored principle that one is innocent until proven guilty? That proof must come from the prosecutor. Watanabe cannot prove his theory that anger, bitterness and spite were Julie Harper's motives. So he just throw's it out there, hoping it will stick. This seems to be what Pfingst is getting at. Watanabe also used the old horse laugh as a substitute for coming right out and claiming that Jason Harper could not have come at his wife with his arms raised. But why not? Watanabe knows very well that could have happened, so his laugh is an effort simply to ridicule the defendant, make fun of her and tie the ridicule to the character assassination he's been trotting out there in place of a real argument for months now. Pfingst is right; Watanabe has no proof. When you don't have a real argument, it's easy to laugh and score psychological rather than logical points with the jury.

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Ponzi Sept. 27, 2014 @ 11:49 a.m.

The prosecutor doesn't have to prove anger, bitterness and spite... it's obvious. She's a coward, instead of divorcing him "during years of abuse" she finally murders him. When she filed for divorce, she knew he would be angry. Why did she have to do things to piss him off like hiding his computer under her bed? Why is she behaving like a child and hiding his stuff? To bring him into her bedroom where she has a loaded gun?

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shirleyberan Sept. 26, 2014 @ 6:26 p.m.

This is a crazy woman. Probably took advice from daddy to stand her ground and shoot. You don't have 3 kids with a man that you hate. Stupid. Lock up that baby cannon.

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AlexClarke Sept. 27, 2014 @ 8:03 a.m.

If she had immediately called the police and not covered the body, buried the gun, took the children to eat and then went to Daddy's and he (rightly so) notified a lawyer she might have made her case. They (he and she) had choices other than her shooting him. While you can never underestimate the stupidity of a jury, she will and should be convicted.

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Ponzi Sept. 27, 2014 @ 8:09 a.m.

So she was raped over a period of several years? Why not get a restraining order, separate or get a divorce? Called names? Get a divorce. Abused and physically harmed? Get a divorce.

No, she went and bought a gun. Not mentioned in this story, but I think I heard in another news account she had recently purchased that gun. And she quickly found an opportunity to use it.

I feel sorry that she went through what she did. But she let too much time pass and didn't take any action, until she killed him. She should have gone to a divorce lawyer instead of a gun dealer.

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Rasa Sept. 27, 2014 @ 10:24 a.m.

Just wonder if Ponzi has been paying attention. Harper's father purchased the gun for his daughter sometime around 1990 while she was a student at USC in Los Angeles. The neighborhood around the university was going through a lot of turmoil and many people considered it to be a dangerous area, especially for a woman walking by herself.

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Ponzi Sept. 27, 2014 @ 11:28 a.m.

The news I have read, which was published by NBC 7, says the investigators have not found the gun. The prosecutor mentions that "she bought the gun." And that if indeed it was "Self-defense" why is she hiding the gun? The story mentions the gun is probably buried. I forget where I read she recently purchased the gun, but I'll keep looking. They would have records for the purchase of course.

Please cite your source about her father purchasing the weapon. It this something that was published or it is just a rumor?

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shirleyberan Sept. 27, 2014 @ 12:14 p.m.

Her dad had assorted guns according to Eva's Sept. 21, 2014 article "A derringer for my daughter". Also says Jason Harper was killed by a single .38 caliber round. Her dad testified that they didn't talk about a gun that day, that he recalls. That's weird. "Cihak confirmed that 20 years ago he had given his daughter a two-shot derringer... In the early 1990's." Is a Derringer .38 caliber and where is it? You guys know that OJ team lawyer Robert Kardashian walked away from from that bloody crime scene with a duffle bag, on camera, and duh they never found the murder weapon (knife).

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Rasa Sept. 27, 2014 @ 2:21 p.m.

In response to Ponzi's request that I provide my source. Here it is, the same one being quoted in the previous comment. I'll include the full paragraph from Eva Knott's article, "A Derringer for My Daughter:" "During cross-examination by Pfingst, Cihak did confirm that 20 years ago he had given his daughter an two-shot derringer. He said, “I believe I gave it to Julie for her defense, for her protection” while she was going to the University of Southern California, in the early 1990s."

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Ponzi Sept. 27, 2014 @ 7:48 p.m.

Ah, so she hid the weapon? While she was shopping with the kids... Yes, she is guilty as sin. If she never had the gumption to report her husbands abuse, I hope she enjoys taking brooms at Chowchilla.

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Ponzi Sept. 28, 2014 @ 9:30 p.m.

It looks like Paul told her to loose weight for the trial. Or at least lose a few chins.

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QueenMe Oct. 1, 2014 @ 7:42 p.m.

Yeah, how 'bout that? He called her fat and ugly so many times, that's exactly what she turned into--a fat, ugly woman. And now that he's gone, she's beautiful again.

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shirleyberan Sept. 29, 2014 @ 9:30 a.m.

Too lazy to move her ass out of the house she chose to stay and fight with him in.

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Ponzi Sept. 30, 2014 @ 10:56 p.m.

How many felonies did she commit before the murder? Forgery, possession of an unregistered firearm, larceny (taking funds she was not entitled to), and then after she set up her plan... committing a felony and leaving the scene.

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Eva Knott Sept. 29, 2014 @ 2:41 p.m.

Attorneys finished their closing arguments after the lunch break, and the jury has gone into deliberations. About 2:30 p.m. Monday, September 29, 2014.

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shirleyberan Oct. 1, 2014 @ 3:06 p.m.

Saw profile from 2012 job app she claimed special ability in weapons and martial arts. Jury hurry.

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shirleyberan Oct. 1, 2014 @ 5:16 p.m.

No flag. Expect your man to pay for as many kids you make or else kill the bad boy. She absurdly got away with pre-meditated. Married people know some of life together is uncomfortable, not going to be killed unarmed.

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shirleyberan Oct. 1, 2014 @ 6:07 p.m.

No flag. Another illiterate jury taking reasonable doubt too literally, without reasoning.

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Ponzi Oct. 1, 2014 @ 6:49 p.m.

Just a jury that cannot connect the dots. She will be tried again for second degree murder. This time the prosecution has the advantage of knowing what the defense will present. Also, there’s probably more evidence and witnesses that can be entered into the next bite at the apple.

What kind of woman, alone a mother, keeps a loaded gun under her pillow in a home with three small children? Her husband isn't the only person who finds her disgusting.

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