The Harper case finally put to rest

Alyssa Slattery, news editor

Jason Harper was a well-known Carlsbad High School teacher who taught Geometry, AP Statistics and also coached the volleyball team. In Aug. 2012, he was killed by his wife, Julie Harper, in their Carlsbad home. He was 39 years old and had three young children at the ages of eight, six and one.

In 2012, Julie Harper was tried for first-degree murder and claimed that she was defending herself against abuse and rape. She said they fought often, mainly concerning financial problems. Their children were downstairs watching cartoons when the shooting occurred in the couple’s bedroom. Julie Harper told the jury that she had filed for a divorce that morning, and she assumed Jason Harper would become very aggravated. She said she accidentally fired the gun in self-defense in order to scare him. However, prosecutors later noted that the gun needed at least 10 pounds of pressure to fire.

“The defendant shot her unarmed husband of 10 years from behind, didn’t call 911 and disposed of the murder weapon, which has never been found,” Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe said.

After the shooting, Julie Harper took her kids out for a drive and then went to her father’s home. Sixteen hours later, she turned herself in. She was acquitted for first-degree murder in 2012, although she was tried again recently. Found guilty of second-degree murder, she is facing 40 years to life in prison. Her three oldest children now live with Jason’s parents, and she recently had her fourth baby while out on bail. It has not been determined where the youngest will go.

Jason Harper played a role in how the CHS math program works today and allowed students to further their math experience.

“My classroom was next to Mr. Harper’s when we moved to the new building,” retired CHS math teacher Mrs. Ortman said. “When we needed another senior math class, I asked him to write up the proposal for Statistics and he did it right away. It’s because of him that we have regular statistics at CHS.”

CHS was affected by Jason’s passing and continues to make accommodations due the sudden loss.

“He left a big hole in our math department,” Ortman said. “You could always count on Jason to lead the way in the subjects he taught. He raised the bar in his classes and the students came up to it. We all still miss him.”

Every year, CHS now gives out the Jason Harper Memorial Scholarship to a student who shines in math, volleyball or both. There is also a Harper Education Benefit Fund that plans to help pay for future expenses of his children. If you are interested in donating to either, please e-mail [email protected]