Kids to stand up for dead dad?

Prosecutor says he'll call young witnesses to testify against Julie Harper

Julie Harper in court this morning, June 3.
  • Julie Harper in court this morning, June 3.

During a brief hearing in court today, June 3, prosecutor Keith Watanabe complained to the judge, again, “We haven’t gotten the murder weapon yet.”

Keith Watanabe

Keith Watanabe

Julie Elizabeth Harper, now 41, is accused of shooting her husband Jason, 39, in the bedroom of their Carlsbad home nearly two years ago.

The prosecutor appears to believe that defense attorney Paul Pfingst has control of the gun that was used to fire a single bullet through the rib cage of Jason Harper while the couple’s children played downstairs, on August 2, 2012.

Pfingst has previously told the judge that he will hand over evidence or “discovery” to the prosecutor 30 days before a trial begins. The date set for trial was June 16 but was delayed again today, until July 14.

Pfingst asserts that there was no murder. Previously, the defender has made statements that suggested a battered-woman defense, or that the shooting was in self-defense. More recently, in a hearing last month, Pfingst suggested the shooting was not intentional.

Prosecutor Watanabe has already said on the record that he intends to call the Harpers’ children as witnesses during trial. The three children were aged eight, six, and 1 1/2 when their father was killed. The prosecutor revealed today that he also intends to call as witnesses certain persons who work for Child Protective Services.

Julie Harper has been at liberty on bond since September of 2013. Her jury trial has been delayed many times since her first court appearance in August of 2012.

The prosecutor said he believes the trial will go forward on the new date, July 14, 2014, before judge Blaine Bowman, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.

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As bad as this sounds, if Watanabe doesn't put at least the eldest kid on the stand, there's a danger she'll skate. And that would be a gross miscarriage of justice. If you have followed the story, you'll note that Pfingsto has prevailed in most if not all of the pretrial motions. The prosecution has to play hardball in that courtroom, lest the jury fail to hear or see the real truth of the matter. But this may be a ploy in that if she thinks that one of the kids will be at her murder trial, she might decide to 'fess up and strike a plea deal. Don't forget that Pfaulie is "pleas-R-us" of the criminal defense bar here in SD county. In fact, I'd bet he's in serious negotiations right now to make a deal for her.

The prosecutor is making arrangements for persons from Child Protective Services to testify. Perhaps these persons can share information that was revealed by the children, which would spare each child some time in the witness box? We are only speculating.

We probably will learn more about all this testimony. It could be in regard to the events that led up to the shooting; on the other hand it might involve some things that have occurred between her and the kids since she got sprung out on bail some months ago. She was locked up for a long time, and during that time, obviously other(s) had custody of the kids. A lot could have happened during that time. This case is getting more involved as it progresses.

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