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Homemaker Faces Murder Charge in Death of Schoolteacher Spouse

Julie Harper is charged with the death of her husband Jason.

Also read: Carlsbad Woman Charged With Homicide

A Carlsbad mother of three was behind bars Thursday and facing a murder charge over the death of her estranged schoolteacher husband.

Julie Elizabeth Harper, 39, surrendered to detectives at her father's Scripps Ranch home on Wednesday afternoon, about 16 hours after police found the body of Carlsbad High geometry instructor Jason Harper in the couple's house, according to police.

Julie Harper, who was with her three young children at the time of her arrest, was booked into Las Colinas women's jail in Santee and was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Patrol officers conducting a welfare check shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday found the 39-year-old teacher's body in an upstairs room at his family's home in a gated neighborhood east of Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course. Authorities declined to disclose a suspected cause of death.

Along with their mother, the couple's children—a daughter, 6, and two sons, ages 18 months and 8 years old—were absent when police arrived at the Badger Lane residence to check on Jason Harper at the request of an unidentified caller. Also missing were the woman's gold Toyota Sienna minivan and a silver Ford Expedition SUV belonging to her husband.

Julie Harper arranged to turn herself in to police through an attorney, Lt. Paul Mendes told reporters.

The homemaker and former real-estate agent reportedly filed for divorce a week ago, accusing her spouse of 11 years in court papers of being profane, aggressive and violent toward her.

The couple's children were taken into protective custody and were expected to be released into the care of a relative, Mendes said.

According to school district, Jason Harper joined the school district in 2003. Aside from teaching geometry and statistics, he also coached volleyball.

Carlsbad High School Principal Matt Steitz—who said Jason Harper was known for having an "exceptional pass rate" in his advanced placement classes—expressed his sympathy for "those who knew and loved Jason as they deal with this sudden and tragic loss.”

-City News Service

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