Amie Harwick murder: Man accused of killing sex therapist could get death penalty

Oliver O'Connell
Good Morning LALA Land

The man accused of killing Dr Amie Harwick could get the death penalty after being re-arrested on Wednesday and officially charged with her murder.

Dr Harwick’s ex-boyfriend, Gareth Pursehouse, was originally arrested on Saturday, but released on Tuesday on a $2m bond.

In addition to murder, Mr Pursehouse is also charged with first-degree residential burglary, and the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait — this makes him eligible for the death penalty under California law.

He is accused of throwing Dr Harwick off the balcony of her third floor Hollywood Hills apartment, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Mr Pursehouse is not eligible for bail. His arraignment was scheduled for Thursday but has been postponed until 4 March.

Dr Harwick, a celebrity therapist and ex-fiancee of comedian Drew Carey, was found by police on the ground below the balcony shortly after 1am on 15 February.

Officers were responding to a call about a woman screaming. She was taken to a hospital where she died.

The investigation revealed evidence of a struggle upstairs, according to the Los Angeles Police Department which is handling the case.

Further evidence of forced entry by an intruder, and evidence that they left after the murder, was also uncovered.

The coroner's office ruled Dr Harwick's death a homicide on Monday, listing the cause as blunt force injuries.

A spokesperson for the coronor told the Associated Press in an email that Dr Harwick's autopsy showed evidence of “manual strangulation,” noting that the fatal fall from the balcony occurred after an “altercation.”

Dr Harwick had previously filed a restraining order against the 41-year-old suspect but it had expired. They had seen each other as recently as two weeks ago, police said.

Mr Carey has tweeted out a link to a petition calling on numerous California politicians to make changes to domestic violence and stalking laws that it is felt could have protected Dr Harwick.

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