Shot dead in bedroom

Defendant Julie Harper has a couple guns

Julie Harper and Paul Pfingst
  • Julie Harper and Paul Pfingst

Attorneys were in court on May 9, preparing for the trial of Julie Elizabeth Harper, 41, who is accused of shooting her husband Jason, 39, nearly two years ago.

The prosecutor said he hoped the defense might hand over the murder weapon as part of “discovery” or sharing of evidence before trial starts, but defender Paul Pfingst quickly declared, “There was no murder!”

The Carlsbad housewife fired one bullet into her husband the morning of August 2, 2012, while their children played downstairs, the prosecutor asserts. The doctor who performed the autopsy has testified that the bullet entered the left side of Jason’s rib cage, traveling to the right before it lodged in the right side of his chest. The defense attorney claims the wound is not consistent with intentional murder.

The couple’s three children were aged 8, 6, and 18 months at the time of their father’s death. Prosecutor Keith Watanabe has said the children are now fearful of their mother and are potentially witnesses in the upcoming trial.

Julie Harper has been at liberty on bond since September of 2013.

The defense has claimed that husband Jason was “constantly yelling and screaming” and “terrorizing” his wife Julie and their children “virtually every single day.”

Prosecutor Watanabe has suggested that Julie was an abuser of prescription medications and that her children described her as sad, crying a lot, and sleeping most of the day. Testimony and court papers suggest that husband Jason took action to prevent Julie having access to certain bank accounts and credit accounts.

Investigators found a hidden bag that was stuffed with cash and passports that the prosecutor described as a “getaway bag.” The defense attorney instead suggests these items were gathered together because “my client was leaving her husband.” Julie had filed divorce paperwork five days before the fatal shooting.

Investigators have not been able to locate the weapon used in the shooting, according to the prosecutor. A detective said they wanted to find two firearms that are registered to Julie Harper: a .45 caliber European American Arms and a .32 Seecamp.

Defense attorney Paul Pfingst said he would make evidence or “discovery” available to the prosecutor 30 days before trial — which is currently set for June 16. However, Pfingst also said he intends to ask for a “continuance” or delay at the next court hearing on June 3.

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Prosecutor Keith Watanabe tried to prevent delay of the current trial date by filing papers protesting any more continuances, citing difficulties bringing in witnesses from out of state.

Pfingst keeps reminding us why he's no longer DA. What a jerk. He's never heard the adage that "justice delayed is justice denied." If he were really eager to clear her name and get the family back together, he'd have pressed for a trial already. Even now, he's asking for more time. But he's not been doing at all well with his defenses lately. Just within the past few days a client of his was found guilty in a jury trial of murdering his ex-wife, and is looking at 50-to-life. Actually, that's rather remarkable, in that it is the first and only murder case he's taken to trial that I'm aware of.

While I'm no fan of the current DA, she does have some good deputies, and Watanabe is one of them. I hope he puts this def away for a good long time. Pfaulie is obviously going for a "battered wife" defense here. That might be a good idea if there were any evidence of her having been battered by the deceased. Oh, and that defense doesn't work well when there's premeditation. That bag and all the money it contained looks like evidence of premeditation to me. And then there are actions after the killing that can reveal plenty. She took the kids on a play date right after offing him, and came across as though nothing had happened. When the husband's body was found (thanks to Pfingsto), the police at first thought she and the kids were in danger, perhaps abducted. Turns out she was at her parents home, but made absolutely no attempt to call the cops or 911 after shooting him. Boy, "Perfidious Paulie" has his work cut out for him.

As an aside, this record of her owning two handguns, one of them a massive 45 caliber, is most odd for a young mother. Very few people who carry sidearms want anything that heavy for heat. (BTW there is no gun registry at either the state or federal level, hence referring to them as "registered to her" is a meaningless comment. But it seems to originate with the cops for some reason. What it probably means is that she purchased them in this state and followed all the rules. There is a record of such purchases.) But why, if this was not murder, can they not get the guns for testing?

Final aside: that blonde polyester glam wig she's wearing isn't doing anything for her sympathy. What it does is create questions about her mental stability.

Is that wig supposed to make her look more trustworthy, cause it's not working.

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