Julie Harper, the Carlsbad woman who fatally shot her school-teacher husband in the couple's home in 2012, testified Wednesday about the moments that led her to pulling the trigger.
Harper, 42, was acquitted last year of first-degree murder in the Aug. 7, 2012, shooting death of Jason Harper. A jury deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquitting the defendant of second-degree murder.
Harper testified in her first trial that she shot her 39-year-old husband accidentally, but feared for her life when he came at her in a rage during an argument in their bedroom. The couple's three young children were downstairs watching cartoons when the shooting occurred.
On Wednesday, Harper took the witness stand for a second day in her second-degree murder retrial in Vista. She reiterated that the shooting was accidental.
"I never intended to shoot him. I only intended to scare him and hopefully stop him from hurting me," she said.
Jurors also watched video of a profane argument the couple had.
Harper testified that she was physically abused and was a victim of spousal rape. She became emotional when Deputy District Attorney Keith Watanabe asked if she had ever called the police to report his violence toward her.
"No, I was very embarrassed, very embarrassed that he was doing it. I didn't want … I didn't want my family to know or my neighbors to know. I didn't want my friends to know," she said.
She recalled the moment of the final confrontation, in which she held a handgun aimed at her husband.
"As he was coming toward me, he said, 'I'm gonna kill you, you [expletive],'" Harper testified.
She said she heard a loud noise and felt her hand jerk.
The couple's children were downstairs and came up to their door after hearing a thump. Harper said she partially covered her husband's body so the children would not see him.
"I didn't want my poor children to have to see their father like that. I was shocked. I had no idea how I was going to break this to my children," Harper said.
Last week, two of Harper's children testified in the retrial. Jackie Harper, now a fourth grader, was asked by Watanabe, "How do you feel about your mom now?"
"I don't like her," Jackie responded.
"[Because] she killed my father," Jackie said.
Harper, who filed for divorce five days before the killing, surrendered to police at her father's Scripps Ranch home a day after the homicide.
In March, a judge delayed the retrial due to Harper being pregnant. Harper's pregnancy, via in-vitro fertilization, raised questions about who the father is, possibly her husband, which could undermine her claim that she was scared of him and killed him in self-defense.
Cross-examination is expected to continue Thursday.