Carlsbad mom acquitted of 1st degree murder

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VISTA, Calif. -- A Carlsbad woman who shot her schoolteacher-husband in the couple's home during an argument was acquitted Wednesday of first-degree murder, and jurors deadlocked on lesser charges.

Julie Elizabeth Harper, 41, could have faced 50 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the Aug. 7, 2012, shooting death of 39- year-old Jason Harper, a math teacher and volleyball coach at Carlsbad High School.

On the third day of deliberations, Judge Blaine Bowman declared a mistrial on the lesser charges against Harper. The jury voted 9-3 for acquittal on second-degree murder and 7-5 for guilty on voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

A status conference was set for Oct. 15, when a retrial date could be set.

Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe told jurors the defendant killed her husband during an argument while their three young children watched cartoons downstairs, then -- instead of calling for help -- left the home with the children and a "getaway bag.''

Harper testified that she shot her husband in self-defense because she was trying to stop him from sexually assaulting or otherwise harming her.

Harper, a stay-at-home mom, also testified that her husband had been verbally and physically abusive in their volatile marriage of more than a decade and had raped her at least 30 times.

"I didn't even intend to shoot him. I only wanted to scare him or to make him stop -- not rape me, not hurt me or possibly even worse,'' she testified during cross-examination.

Harper -- who had filed divorce papers five days before the shooting -- surrendered to police at her father's Scripps Ranch home the day after her husband was killed.


  • pete91

    So all you have to do these days is claim i was a battered wife kinda and get away with it she stole his $$ and still is not guilty,

    • volleyball13

      I would agree with your statement in most cases, but I unfortunately knew the husband and dealt with him for 3 years. He coached me for 3 years, and I can attest that he simply hated women and had an anger problem. Even most of our parents (whom have kept me updated on this case) knew that and even wanted to testify about his anger and hatred. He was not the man the media is making him out to be. I have no doubt in my mind that he was abusive. Definitely mentally and I bet physically. I’m not saying he deserved to be hurt or murdered, but he was a terrible man.

    • crumbsandwich

      You also have too be white with a rich daddy. Probably a different outcome if she was a poor white woman and couldn’t afford an attorney. Also a different outcome if she was poor and a woman of color.

    • crumbsandwich

      FYI I’m not a man and I think she’s guilty. Unfortunately I have a best friend who was physically abused by her ex.We both agree this woman was never battered.

    • crumbsandwich

      Sorry there should have been a,{ “For the record before my FYI I’m not a man and I think she’s guilty”} I was agreeing though it is sad how men are often judged to be instantly guilty if a woman claim’s abuse it’s sad for them and the women who actually are abused…

  • B

    If Mrs. Harper was battered why did she just not flea with her kids to her Dads house or anywhere? Just leave! With the facts that were presented to us how can it not be premeditated murder (knowing we only have but a just a brief overview) it would only appear that we have another group of less than capable minds were once again placed in the jury pool, If there is no record or even multiple records of Mrs. Harper being abused than this jury’s decision is criminal. And what’s worse than her going free is now she is going to be the one raising three innocent children. God Help them and all of us too.

    • crumbsandwich

      Exactly! Hopefully the children will continue to live with their paternal grandparent’s and this monster is retried and found guilty of the murder she planned and committed…

  • Larry

    Just wondering, since the judge declared a mistrial on second degree murder and manslaughter but the jury found her not guilty on first degree murder, does double jeopardy apply only apply to the first degree murder or the whole thing. My head tells me she can still be retired for the lesser charges.

    • snowfreeze

      Still may be retried on lesser charges. Also, if he was important enough, the feds can actually try her on a twist of 1st degree murder and give her the death penalty if capital punishment.

  • crumbsandwich

    As far as there being student’s and parents who wanted to testify that he was abusive that’s ridiculous and totally not related to his home life. I seem to recall there were many student’s, parent’s and colleague’s of his that also came to his defense.It has nothing to do with this his professional life is not his personal life. The more I saw if this woman and her claim’s the more I’m reminded of another manipulative and so called abused woman, Betty Broadwick. The only difference I can see is this woman was smarter and had her rich daddy to help her. I don’t believe her husband was physically abusive and I seriously doubt he was any more verbally abusive than her.That cell phone video she shot was ridiculous! I think she baited him and then started filming. Their own children testified that daddy was sweet and nice. They never saw him hurt mommy they preferred daddy to mommy wonder why that is… Hmmm,maybe mommy is the manipulative liar she appear’s to be is my guess. If she was abused why was there never one call to the police for the 30 time’s she’s claimed abuse.They were in the process of divorcing so sorry, I just don’t buy her song and dance. This woman is cold,calculating and a murderer she is the worst because there are actually battered women out there but she isn’t one of them. Hopefully they retry her and the next jury find’s her guilty of the murder she so obviously committed and she get’s locked up for life. She killed him got rid of the gun then had her rich daddy get her an attorney after they practised her battered wife story she turn’s herself in at her convenience.. Not sure what this jury’s problem is but i’m not surprised Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman and the list continue’s of murderer’s getting away with it. Very sad….

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