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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.

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Visduh Aug. 13, 2012 @ 7:08 p.m.

Ahh, the plot thickens. The kids heard a thump, huh? That pretty well establishes a time of death, doesn't it?

But please, Eva, 'splain to me what having a handgun "registered" means. Unless I've been out on Mars for the past several decades, there is no requirement for registering a handgun, and no means to do that. There may be some sort of purchase history that is in a data base, but that doesn't equal a registry. If you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, that might equate to "registering" a handgun. I'm really, really puzzled by these frequent references to "registered" and "unregistered" handguns. Care to help us all out?

To go beyond that desire for clarification, one might wonder why a woman in her 30's would have two guns "registered" to her name. Most women I know want nothing to do with firearms, and don't go out and buy them, and would be generally horrified by the notion that they would ever want one. Maybe, again, you can learn more and pass it along.

As I said, the plot thickens.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 13, 2012 @ 7:30 p.m.

I always thougtht when you buy a firearm that was the same as registering them????? Since I dont own any firearms I have no idea though.


tomjohnston Aug. 14, 2012 @ 1:44 p.m.

There is no firearm registration requirement in California except for assault weapon owners and personal handgun importers.


QueenMe Nov. 23, 2013 @ 6:31 a.m.

In reference to your comment regarding women and firearms, I wholeheartedly agree. I NEVER in a million years expected to, nor had any desire to own a gun--UNTIL I had the CRAP beaten out of me. Now, I own 2 guns...just sayin'.


Hopsing Aug. 13, 2012 @ 8:28 p.m.

I know that if you move to California from another state, your required to register any handguns your bringing in. Long guns do not need to be registered. I don't know if this applied in this case.


Eva Knott Aug. 14, 2012 @ 6:46 a.m.

Prosecutor Keith Watanabe told the court, during his argument for high bail, that the accused woman had two guns registered in her name while the alleged victim had no firearms registered in his name. This deputy district attorney is usually very organized and careful and I feel confident quoting him.


Visduh Aug. 14, 2012 @ 1:45 p.m.

I wasn't suggesting that your quote of his words was inaccurate. In fact the local print media reported the same thing. I don't understand what that meant, and am certain that plenty of other readers don't understand it either. And I was asking for some clarification.


MattB Aug. 14, 2012 @ 8:49 a.m.

She shot her husband once, closed the bedroom door behind him, and left him there to die, no call to 911 or the police, made sure her attorney didn't notify the police until 14 hours later when she was sure he was dead.

She used the time in between to hide the murder weapon, the victim's wallet and cell phone, and maybe other evidence.

Her face shows no remorse or regret for her crime. Her children heard her kill their father, and then she hustled them out of the house while their father lay on the floor dying.


Visduh Aug. 14, 2012 @ 1:50 p.m.

Yes, that's exactly what it looks like. And that's why any sort of self-defense justification will be very hard to sell. The behavior of a person after an event is often a key piece of the case and is evidence of intent. I'd say she's in deeeep sh**.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 14, 2012 @ 4:03 p.m.

Her face shows no remorse or regret for her crime.

In no way do I support her or her actions, I know nothing about the facts-but come on, this is a dumb comment, usually made by a biased or interested party like the DA, to try to turn the case on anything other than facts. Stop the spin. Please.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 14, 2012 @ 4:08 p.m.

She shot her husband once, closed the bedroom door behind him, and left him there to die, no call to 911 or the police, made sure her attorney didn't notify the police until 14 hours later when she was sure he was dead.... Her children heard her kill their father, and then she hustled them out of the house while their father lay on the floor dying.

How do you know this is what happened?????? Were you there? Are you the DDA? Are you a cop who did the investigation?? HOW do you know THIS is the way it went down?????? You are obviously somehow connected in or related to this case, and I want to know why you are making these comments if you were not there or investigating them, and if you were there and investigating then I want to know why you are posting these comments on a public site when it is certainly under seal at this point in time by the PD and DA.


Visduh Aug. 14, 2012 @ 5:26 p.m.

"Under seal"? Much of this was stated by the DA in the arraignment hearing. I should say "claimed" by Watanabe. If he trotted those details out in a public court hearing, they are not under seal.


SurfPuppy619 Aug. 15, 2012 @ 2:32 a.m.

Police reports are not public documents, at least not until they're turned over in discovery. What MAttB claimed was information he could NOT know first hand, he was not there. He is claiming it as fact-the are not facts, and I was just pointing that out- the DDA can say whatever he wants, his words are not evidence. I wanted to know where this info came from .


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