Carlsbad Woman Who Shot Husband Acquitted Of First-Degree Murder
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 — second-degree murder and manslaughter.
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 her 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.
The defendant surrendered to police at her father's Scripps Ranch home the day after the shooting.