Carlsbad mom gets 40 years to life in prison for husband’s murder

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VISTA, Calif. – A Carlsbad mother of three who shot and killed her schoolteacher husband as they argued in their upstairs bedroom more than three years ago was sentenced Friday to 40 years to life in prison.

"As Jason's mother, I miss him every single day.  There is such a huge voice in our lives because he is not here," said Lina Harper, Jason's mother.

Harper began the sentencing for her former daughter in law, through tears she told about Jason, the devoted son, husband, but most of all father.

“He wanted to live and be of a part of his children’s lives as they grow up, he loved all three of them very much, said Harper.

The most powerful words came from the children of Jason and Julie Harper.  Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe read their statement.

"Hello my name is Jake," said Watanabe.  "She murdered with no sense of the consequences, leaving my siblings and I parentless.  She has destroyed our lives and does not want to accept the consequences, she did not realize she would go to jail and now she’s trying to weasel out of punishment."

Jacquelyn, the Harpers' daughter said "Because you killed our dad, you are no longer Mom.  You are Julie, I will never call you Mom again."

"He was a very different man to me," cried Harper to the judge.

Harper made a 40 minute plea for mercy, once again reminding the court she was the victim.

"I'm sorry I couldn't articulate that well enough during the trial with everything I went through with him," cried Harper.

Harper has testified that she shot her spouse of 10 years in self-defense because she feared he was going to kill or rape her. She said she fired the gun accidentally as he charged her during the argument.

Judge Blaine Bowman acknowledged Harper's plea, but said his decision came down to her testimony.

"The court has weighed the credible evidence and that does not include the testimony of the defendant," said Judge Bowman.  "You pulled trigger and you killed him.  Therefore, are sentenced to 40 years to life for the killing of Jason Harper.​"

Several of the 12 jurors present for the sentencing spoke to Fox 5.

"None of us had any qualms about it," said Steve Westland, juror.

The jurors said they wanted to show support for the victim's family.

"I wanted especially today to be here for Mr. and Mrs. Harper," said Judy Bliss, juror.

"We thought what she brought on the families, especially on her own kids was horrible," said Westland.

The jurors said there was never any doubt about the decision they made.

"We just added it all up and it all added up to 100% guilty," said Westland.

"The woman is very smart and very conniving, intelligent, but we could see the truth," said Bliss.

Jurors said the strongest argument from prosecutors was the journal Harper kept.

"I actually took the dayplanner and into my hands read it and looked at it.  It was sickening," said Bliss.  "When she testified on the stand, every time she said the word sex and it meant rape, it just didn't make sense."

Jurors said they doubted Harper, even down to her last plea for leniency.

"Today, I would listen to the tone of her voice and she would start rambling and start going into this world of make-believe and dreaming," said Bliss.

"I think we felt very justified in coming up with our verdict," said Carol Grimes, juror.

For that verdict, Julie Harper will now possibly spend the rest of her life in prison.

"I think she's where she needs to be, it's a proper sentence," said Grimes.  "That man is gone forever and those children will suffer forever."

8 comments

  • Rebecca mcgarrahan

    Does anybody notice how women receive 40 years and up sentences including life? Men kill and receive 14 to 25 and at some point get out of prison. ..to start a new life…women rarely get out of prison. ..people say to women protect yourself from your husband or boyfriend and when women do, women often end up in prison for life! F this corrupt justice system!

    • Tom

      Jesus…this JUST happened in the reverse a couple years ago in 2013. The man got 48 years to life. Please stop pretending that you are being discriminated against. This is not 1918. If you are falling short in life, it is a pretty solid bet that it is your own fault

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    • Marissa

      I was a student at Carlsbad High School where Mr Harper taught. I never had him as a teacher, but had friends who did, and they absolutely loved him! What his wife did to him is completely wrong, and he didn’t deserve it. She gets 40-life.. GOOD. She deserves everything thats coming to her! She killed a great man, teacher and father..

      • Anirban (aka Abner) Bhattacharya

        Did not see trial (haven’t been to S. Calif. since 2001) but 40 years seems excess for facts of this Murder 2 case. She wasn’t credible when it came to assault & battery. She was credible as far as verbal abuse goes. Jury in 1st trial rejected Murder 1 charge with hung jury, while 2nd trial convicted her of Murder 2. Think she should have gotten 18 to 25 years in prison rather than 40. It’s sad that this woman’s kids don’t call her mom anymore as possibly her husband’s parents have told her kids to reject their mom. She is their mom & her dead husband’s parents should @least try to have their grandkids to try to forgive her though she killed their dad.

        Yes, there are violent women as in 2013 Jodi Ann Arias trial in Arizona (which I saw on Internet). But I would not compare this woman to Jodi. What Jodi did-stalking her ex-boyfriend, then 1 day killing him in shower by stabbing him to death and cutting throat was worse. What’s worse is that Jodi accused her ex-boyfriend of being a gay pedophile. What Jodi Ann Arias did being haughty along with her defense experts was much worse than Julie Elizabeth Harper. Julie is guilty of Murder 2 which jury convicted her of. But I think she should have gotten less time such as 18 to 25 years in prison rather than 40.

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    • Anirban (aka Abner) Bhattacharya

      What drugs are you smoking? The woman is White. Florida & California laws (or other states which have this) should be changed regarding mandatory minimum for using gun in a crime. If some1 is stabbed to death or beaten to death with club & a Murder 2 conviction, then it’s 15 minimum (AZ law has 10 year minimum for Murder 2 with presumptive sentence of 15 if no past felonies), but with gun, Calif law adds 25 & Florida as of 2015 adds 20. In this case, she quickly killed him by shooting him-likely a quarrel which went bad & shot him in argument. I don’t know these people-she is right that you don’t know all that happens behind closed doors as with domestic violence assault & battery, kept secret from neighbors, friends & family. He insulted her, though that gives no right to kill.

      I don’t care for guns, but to incr. punishment as gun was used is wrong as killing with guns usu. victim is killed fast while killing with knife or club, victim not always killed fast. Junky drunk drivers killing others (which you know as lawyer can be Murder 2) can be worse with motive than what this woman did as drunk drivers often have past DUI(though usu. not homicide) & they usually kill strangers in wrecks who did nothing wrong but drunk drivers who kill get less time than she did. Murder 1 convictions regardless of weapon used should have life sentences in almost all cases with no parole possibility, but Murder 2 & manslaughter convictions using a gun should in most cases have parole possibility.

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