Jury to begin deliberations in Julie Harper trial

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – 4:00 p.m. – The jury was released Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. and will continue deliberations Thursday at 9 a.m.

3:30 p.m. – A Carlsbad woman is in trial again Wednesday in connection to the 2012 death of her husband, a high school math teacher and volleyball coach.

Julie Harper, 42, is charged with second-degree murder of her husband Jason Harper.

The judge for the San Diego stay-at-home mother’s case declared a mistrial last year after the jurors were deadlocked on a first-degree murder charge.

Harper’s attorney, Paul Joseph Pfingst, said she was the victim of domestic violence, while prosecutors said Harper chose to shoot and kill her husband.

The shooting happened in the couple’s Carlsbad bedroom in 2012 while their children watched cartoons downstairs, officials said. Harper has admitted to killing her husband, but claims it was self-defense.

Instead of calling for help after the shooting, prosecutors say, Harper took off with the couple’s three children and a getaway bag, driving around town before turning herself in 16 hours later.

Harper also claims the gun went off by accident, which prosecutors said is impossible since the type of handgun used in the shooting needs at least 10 pounds of pressure to fire. 

“I never intended to shoot him,” she said on the stand. “I only intended to scare him and, hopefully, stop him from hurting me.”

The defense said it’s implausible that Harper shot her husband unprovoked.

“The history of Julie Harper does not lead one to believe that all of a sudden she turns into an assassin,” Pfingst said.

Prosecutors will present their rebuttal argument Wednesday and the case is expected to go to the jury of seven women and five men.

If convicted, Harper faces 40 years to life in prison.

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