Jason Harper's Body Found Buried in Clutter: Cops

So much clutter filled the room that there was no clear path to move around officials said

By R. Stickney
|  Wednesday, Dec 12, 2012  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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Harper Murder Case: Guns, Pills and In-Law Strife

NBC 7 San Diego

In this image, shown in court, the area where the victim's body was discovered is circled in yellow.

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Mother of Killed Carlsbad Teacher Testifies

The mother of slain Carlsbad teacher Jason Harper testified in court against Julie Harper, who is accused of killing him.
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The body of a Carlsbad high school teacher was discovered buried under piles of clutter an investigator testified Tuesday.

Jason Harper, 39, was found shot to death Aug. 7 in his home in a gated community on Badger Lane east of the Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course.

Julie Harper, 39, a former real estate agent, faces first degree murder charges in his death.

Julie, who'd filed for divorce days before Jason was found dead, was with him in their bedroom on the morning when their two oldest kids, ages 6 and 8, told police they heard a loud thud and their dad screaming.

When the kids went upstairs investigators said they weren't allowed in and were told by their mom: dad fell from a chair and is now sleeping.

Carlsbad police Lt. Bruce May drove to the couple’s address after he received a call from Julie Harper’s defense attorney Paul Pfingst urging them to do a welfare check on the home.

May testified Wednesday at a pre-trial hearing Wednesday and described images showing Jason Harper’s body buried under a pile of belongings in the couple’s master bedroom.

“It appeared to be a large object in the center of the room,” he said. “It was large enough we thought it was probably a body underneath it. “

He nudged it a few times with a flashlight and didn’t get a response.

“The object had a bunch of clothes and boxes on it so Sgt. Chapman moved a box, pulled a blanket back and we discovered a deceased male under the blanket.”

There was so much clutter in the room that there was no clear path to move around May said.

The bulk of testimony Tuesday came from Jason Harper's mother who talked about her son's failing marriage and the growing distrust she had for her daughter in law now accused of murder.

Included in Lina Harper's so called "Mom's list of concerns" were the cluttered home, the bottles of valium and painkillers littering the bathroom, extreme retaliation and revenge and even the book her daughter-in-law was reading about how in-laws ruin a marriage.

She also read out loud to the court parts of Julie's resume, "It says military training, martial arts, weapons handling, and shooting and in parenthesis small arms, semi-automatic carbines and rifles," Lina Harper testified.

Investigators say they haven't recovered the gun used in the shooting.

More testimony is expected in the preliminary hearing Wednesday.

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