Julie Harper testifies husband had anger issues early on

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VISTA, Calif. — Carlsbad mom Julie Harper took the stand Tuesday to explain why she shot her husband in self-defense.

“It was sex when he was angry with me,” said Harper.

Harper testified Jason Harper raped her at least 30 times starting in January of 2010 and up until his death on Aug. 7, 2012.

“A lot of times it started with financial things, my weight,” Harper said.

She said she first met Jason at a party in June of 2000. The two began dating and fell in love. She testified early on that she thought Jason lacked core values.

“I felt like he didn’t have a lot of goals and he really was just somewhat lazy,” said Harper. “He didn’t have any religious beliefs. He didn’t go to church. He didn’t have a personal belief system; no spirituality.”

Harper also said her then boyfriend was critical of her.

“He made fun of my polo shirts. He said I was a geek and a nerd. He would buy me surf wear and tried to turn me into a surfer girl,” said Harper.

Jason and Julie married on Nov. 1, 2001. Julie said shortly after, she started noticing her husband’s anger issues. She said the arguing happened so often, she began keeping a calendar.

“I would put an X on the days where he was yelling or acting inappropriately and circle the days without a fight,” said Harper.

“How did that work out?” asked Defense Attorney Paul Pfingst.

“It didn’t work out so good. It was mostly X’s,” said Harper.

She said they would most often argue about money. She testified part of Jason’s pre-marriage agreement was she would contribute $3,000 a month towards basic expenses.

Harper also said they would argue over childcare and her health issues. At age 6, Julie was diagnosed with autoimmune issues; she experienced severe cases of arthritis.

“He thought my medical expenses were costing too much and he was very angry and upset about it. He didn’t think he should have to contribute toward my medical care.”

She said she asked Jason to accompany her to doctor’s visits, he declined.

Harper said in 2010, the arguing turned to verbal abuse.

“Bad language that he would use to call me names,” Harper said. “He would call me fat pig disgusting, disgusting, disgustingly fat.”

She said shortly after, the words turned into rape.

“He pushed me against the wall in our bedroom slammed my chest, cheek to the wall,” said Harper. “I just didn’t know what to think. I was just so upset and so shocked.  I didn’t really want to talk to him.”

Harper said she kept a journal and began to document the incidents and the problems in her marriage, noting in particular the times she was raped or coerced into sex.

“You had all these reasons to leave. Why did you stay married to him?” asked Pfingst.

“I stayed for the kids, my religion. And I didn’t want a divorce,” said Harper.

She has testified that she shot her husband during an argument because she feared he would rape or kill her.

Harper’s testimony will continue Wednesday, followed by cross-examination by prosecution.

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