Jury deliberations to begin in retrial of accused husband killer

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VISTA, Calif. – The jury in the retrial of the Carlsbad mom who killed her husband is one step closer to closing the case.

On Tuesday, both the prosecution and the defense made their closing arguments.

“The last thing Jason Harper saw was not his three loving children, his parents or his brother,” said Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe. “The last thing Jason Harper saw was the barrel of Julie Harper’s gun.

Harper faces murder in the second degree. She was acquitted last year from the first trial of murder in the first degree.

“On Aug. 7, 2012 Julie Harper made a choice and her choice was to pull the trigger of that gun and to kill another human being,” said Watanabe.

In his closing argument, he wasted no time arguing Harper endured verbal abuse from her husband.

“This time Julie was not going to put up with Jason’s verbal abuse,” said Watanabe. “She got out a loaded gun and pointed it at Jason.”

Watanabe told the jurors Julie Harper chose to pull the trigger of her Derringer; she chose to shoot and fire at Jason. She killed Jason.

“But, did the verbal abuse, the swearing and yelling justify killing a human being?” asked Watanabe.

He also pointed out to jurors the strong evidence in the case was Jason Harper’s wounds. The bullet wound in the back of his upper torso was consistent with someone trying to get away and not someone shot in self-defense.

“Jason Harper turned to get out of the way of fire. Jason Harper wanted to live, Julie would not let him,” said Watanabe. “These mortal wounds tell you that Jason Harper was murdered and this woman is the person who murdered Jason Harper.”

Julie Harper maintains she was a victim of domestic abuse. She testified earlier in the week she was raped by at least 30 times by Jason.

“Just because Julie Harper said something, it’s not true,” Watanabe told the jurors.

He called much of Harper’s testimony lies.

“She lied in her use of the word sex as a code word for rape. She lied about the attack from Jason Harper. She hasn’t been able to produce a single scratch or bruise,” said Watanabe.

He also pointed to Harper’s testimony of how she accidentally fired the gun, her journal and the blue backpack found in the attic of her father’s garage, which the defense called a get-away bag for a domestic violence victim.

“Julie Harper lied to all of you and if you find that she did, you have to ask yourself why is it that she’s lying to us? Because she knows what all of us know now, that she is guilty of murder,” said Watanabe.

Defense Attorney Paul Pfingst argued his client's testimony was not a lie and in fact, it’s the truth.

“She has an abusive husband who is demeaning her, treating her like garbage,” said Pfingst.

He said she had enough of the abuse as evidenced by Julie filing for divorce days before the Aug. 7 shooting.

Pfingst said Julie Harper was afraid of her husband and was scared to tell him about the divorce.

“His retaliation was not going to be pretty and she was afraid of it and she took steps to protect herself from it. God bless her for that!” said Pfingst. “She doesn’t have to put up with getting raped again simply because she filed for divorce.”

Pfingst said the morning of Aug. 7, 2012 is when Julie told Jason about filing for divorce, an argument ensued and that’s when he attacked her.

“She doesn’t have to prove it happened,” said Pfingst. “If there’s a doubt there was self-defense in this case and that doubt has reason to support it, she’s entitled to an acquittal.”

He also reminded jurors about the mass media coverage of the case and said he would hope it didn’t influence their decision.

“The press has their reasons for doing things that are unrelated to the outcome of justice in this case. You’re in the business of justice,” said Pfingst.

He also told jurors to keep in mind they are new to the case.

“The rest of us over here have been involved with this for three years,” said Pfingst. “You’re seeing things new for the very first time, things that rest of us have been dealing with for years.”

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