Julie Harper describes the day she shot her husband - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Julie Harper describes the day she shot her husband

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Julie Harper admits she shot her husband, but says it was in self-defense after several vicious attacks. Harper is facing a third day on the witness stand Thursday.

Harper is charged with second-degree murder for the Aug. 7, 2012 shooting death of her husband Jason Harper, who was a teacher at Carlsbad High School. She was acquitted of first-degree murder last year.

Harper claims that she shot her husband in self-defense, fearing that he would kill or rape her.

During Wednesdays hearing, Harper testified that the day she killed her husband, he had been cursing at her.

“As he came towards me, he said ‘I am going to kill you’,” said Harper. “I heard a loud noise and felt my hand jerk. My gun had gone off.”

Harper says she grabbed the gun and then remembers seeing Jason fall to the floor. Harper said that she began to gently push him, saying his name while he lay on the floor. She said at first, she was afraid he was faking it and that he would attack her. Eventually she checked his pulse and realized he was dead. Harper said that her children appeared at the door of the master bedroom and she told them to go downstairs. She claims she then covered his body with a blanket.

On the day Harper shot and killed her husband, she didn’t immediately call the police. The prosecution has made a point of this, claiming that if she had in fact killed her husband in self-defense, she would have contacted authorities right away.

“There was no plan. I was in complete shock. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to tell my children. All I could think about was them and how I didn’t want them to see anything traumatic,” Harper told the court.

Harper says that she covered her husband’s body not to hide her crime, but to prevent her children from seeing him. Harper says she left the house with her children and after having coffee, dropped them off with her sister. 

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[Related Story: Julie Harper takes the stand in her murder trial

On Tuesday, Harper took the stand as she was questioned by her defense attorney, telling the courtroom that her relationship with her husband had been rocky and at odds from the very beginning. She told the court that her husband would call her names before allegedly attacking her in their master bedroom. Harper testified that the first time Jason raped her was in January of 2010 after an argument over money.

"He would push me against the wall in our bedroom. He was pressing on me with his body against the wall and yanking my bottoms down with one of his hands," Harper told the court.

[Related Story: Specialists take the stand in Julie Harper re-trial]

Harper claims the attack was so violent that she bled afterwards. She testified that there were about thirty similar incidents during the next few years. Harper told the court that one of those incidents resulted in pregnancy.

In 2011, Harper says she began a journal and would send some of the entries to an ex-boyfriend from college that she had remained friends with over the years.

"I wanted there to be a record, in case something happened to me," said Harper.

If convicted of second-degree murder, Harper would face 44 years to life in prison.

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