Case on Julie Rae Harper

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LAW206

Julie Rae Harper Case

In the case of Julie Rae Harper, a mother, was convicted of brutally killing her ten year old son, Joel Kirkpatrick, in the middle of the night. On the night of October 13th, 1997, a terrible murder had occurred in Lawrenceville, Illinois. A loving mother and her son spent a beautiful day together before the tragedy took place. Julie Rae Harper, convicted of this heinous crime, claimed to be innocent. Was she trying to get away with the murder of her only child or did the prosecutors and police have a biased opinion on this case?

Julie Rae Harper, a loving mother, was working on her master’s degree at University of Indiana and could not get custody of her only son, Joel Kirkpatrick. On October 13th, 1997 Joel stayed at his mother’s house. After they had enjoyed a lovely evening with some friends, Julie Rae Harper and her son headed to bed. Later that night, at around 4-4:30am Julie Rae Harper was awoken by a gruesome scream. She jumped out of bed, ran over to her son’s bedroom only to find the bed was empty. All of a sudden, somebody runs past Julie Rae Harper with a mask on. Harper begins to chase him down her hallway, past the living room, through the kitchen, into the garage and out to the backyard, breaking both glass doors leading out of the house. When Harper finally got a hold of the man, he gashed Harper’s arm and hit her in her face, and kept running. When the man was by the fence, he turned around pulled his mask off of his face only to reveal his face to Harper. Panicked, Harper ran over to a neighbor’s house banging on the door yelling for help. When her neighbor opened the door, let her in and contacted the police stating there was a kidnapping of a young child, police made their way to Harper’s neighbor’s house. Police and paramedics arrived to bandage Harpers arm, record her story and eventually to inform Harper that her son Joel had not been kidnapped, but murdered. Joel Kirkpatrick had been found on the floor between his bed and the wall, brutally stabbed to death with a steak knife from Harpers kitchen. Looking deeper into this case, authorities did not have enough evidence to convict Julie Rae Harper for the murder of her son. Authorities’ primary information sources claim that investigators found no sign of forced entry, nothing stolen, no fingerprints, and no one with any motive to kill a 10-year-old boy. Harper did everything she could to participate with authorities and take herself off of the suspect list including taking a lie detector test, which unfortunately for her is not admissible evidence in court. Harper tried to move on with her life, but on October 12th, 2000, almost three years later, a special grand jury indicted Julie Rae Harper for capital murder, which now makes Harper eligible for the death penalty. She was arrested and arraigned. Her case followed the due process of law. As per her 6th amendment rights and being an indigent, Harper was assigned an overworked public defender and put in a plea of not guilty. Harper was found guilty and sentenced to sixty-five years in prison. Julie Rae Harper was interrogated by the police multiple times. The prosecutor even made a statement that Julie Rae Harper was found guilty because of her ‘ridiculous story’ and that it was ‘nonsense.’ Unfortunately for Harper, there were no witnesses other than herself. After the conviction Harper filed a pro se petition requesting the appointment of two capital-qualified attorneys to defend her. The protection of Supreme Court reforms that were to take effect in March of 2001 which required two qualified attorneys to defend a person facing the death penalty. Prosecutors announced that they no longer intended to seek the death penalty and therefore denied her request. When facing the death penalty you are entitled to the Capital Litigation Trust Fund, this legislative intent was provided to properly investigate claims of innocence during...
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