North County

Carlsbad Killer's Sentence Will Not Be Lessened Under SB 620, Judge Rules

Julie Harper's case is one of the first in the state where a sentence could be changed by Senate Bill 620

What to Know

  • Jason Harper was killed in his home while his children watched cartoons in another room.
  • When the children asked about the noise, their mother told them "Daddy fell off a chair."
  • After she killed Jason, Julie Harper dropped their kids off at her sister's house and went to a coffee shop.

A judge ruled Wednesday that a Carlsbad woman's 40-year sentence for shooting and killing her husband will not be reduced. 

Julie Harper was convicted of second-degree murder for the killing of her husband, Jason Harper, on Aug. 7, 2012 in their North County home. 

Julie Harper was eligible for resentencing under Senate Bill 620 -- a law that gives a judge the discretion to strike a gun allegation, which mandates 25-years to life.

But judge Blaine Bowman on Wednesday ruled Julie Harper would still serve her 40-year sentence. 

Before making his decision, the judge heard from Jason Harper's mother, who urged Bowman to keep Julie Harper's sentence as long as possible. 

"In no way should his killer be free any sooner than the number of years that she took from him," Lina Harper said. "For true justice and fairness to Jason, her sentence should remain at 40 years to life."

Letters from the Harpers' three children, ages 15, 12 and 7, also asked Judge Harper to maintain their mother's sentence. 

Julie Harper sat motionless during all four testimonies. 

If the gun allegation was removed by the judge, Julie Harper would have seen her sentence reduced from the original 40 years to life behind bars to 15 years to life in prison. 

Julie Harper's first trial was in the fall of 2014, and at that trial, she was acquitted on first-degree murder charges. Prosecutors sought to retry her on second-degree murder charges, and her retrial began Sept. 14, 2015. Following the retrial, a jury found her guilty of second-degree murder on Oct. 8, 2015.

Julie Harper's retrial included dramatic, emotional testimony from her in-laws and the couple's children.

The defendant also took the stand for three days, recounting graphic details of her relationship with Jason Harper and the chilling moment she pulled the trigger and killed him.

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