Murder Suspect Described Terror Before Shooting Husband

The woman on trial for killing her husband said he routinely abused her and that it all came to a head on Aug. 7, 2012.

Julie Harper, 41, took the stand for the second day on Tuesday. The Carlsbad woman said she shot her husband Jason in self-defense after enduring months of sexual and verbal abuse.

Jason was “in an absolute fury” the morning he died, Harper told the court. She said he was throwing clothes and boxes around the bedroom looking for his computer.

“He grabbed me and began yanking my top off…Then he began pulling my bottoms down and somewhat simultaneously pushing me onto the chaise, the couch,” Harper said.

Harper said she managed to wiggle free and grabbed her gun from under her pillow. She told her husband to stay back, she said, but he kept coming toward her and threatened to kill her.

“I was shaking. I was holding onto my gun tightly,” Harper said.

“Next thing I knew, I felt my hand jerk and heard a loud noise, and he was still coming forward at me. All of a sudden he froze completely. Just like a tree in the forest fell forward at me.”

Harper filed for divorce on Aug. 2, four days before the murder. She moved her pistol from the safe to under her pillow around the same time. She said she packed an emergency bag with money and passports in case she had to leave on a moment’s notice, something she learned to do on a domestic violence website.

Harper had been keeping a daily planner to track her husband’s abusive behavior. Defense attorney Paul Pfingst asked Harper to read from the planner in court on Tuesday. She shared multiple incidents of rape and verbal abuse, including one argument that she said lasted for more than 10 hours.

Carlsbad police discovered Jason’s body buried in a pile of clutter. Harper said she covered her husband’s dead body with blankets and boxes so her children wouldn’t see him that way.

Harper faces 50 years to life in prison if found guilty.

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