BARSTOW (CBS) — 62-year-old William Wade of Barstow was sentenced to six years in prison Friday for brutally beating and torturing his 43-year-old, live-in girlfriend, but in an unusual twist, the victim Debra Harper, also went to jail.

The Barstow police report obtained by CBS2 reveals the level of violence the victim endured.  She told officers Wade beat her with a pole and a tire iron.  When she called 911, Barstow said, “If I go to jail, I’m going to slit your throat”.  The report says he punched her in the head twice.  Marks on her arm and leg were caused by being struck with the metal pipe.  She told officers she is in fear for her life and believes he will try to kill her and that he is fully capable.

But in an unusual twist to this domestic violence case, the victim Debra Harper was sent to jail for six months, for perjury.  The District Attorney’s office says she lied and covered up repeated beatings she had endured in the past.

“I feel wrong.  I shouldn’t be here.  I am the victim.  I’m the victim,” Harper said by phone during the time she was locked up in Rancho Cucamonga.

A domestic violence expert with the Children’s Institute, a non-profit group in Echo Park that offers resources, support and services to children and families is concerned about the message it could send to other victims.  Breaking that cycle is breaking the silence.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (27)
  1. kriste says:

    i just don’t know…
    on one hand, by lying she potentially put not only herself but other women at risk from this sadist. but on the other, this seems a bit extreme, six months in jail. i don’t know how to encourage a woman who’s scared to stand up for herself and others who WILL follow, but that long in jail doesn’t seem like best idea…

    1. Ron says:

      The best way to help her, is to remove her from the situation. Get her as far away from him as they can and get her into a house for abused women.

      Do not throw her in jail. How narrow minded is this district attorney? Some advocates with good legal help, need to step in or she will become another victim.

  2. karen says:

    She lied and covered up beatings in the past. So, this woman is being jailed for her past. Right? What about thepresent? this male (he doesn’t deserve to be called a man) beat her with a tire iron and pole. Okay, this is where you lost me. How come she deserves to be in jail? If this ain’t some of the dumbest stuff I have ever heard. I am sure when they release her they will be most apologetic. That’ll help a lot. Men, I love them, but golly, look at the incredibly insane things they do. Its all that testosterone. If they could ever get by that, who knows, they might be able to sit down and reason together.

  3. swhitS says:

    What is the benefit of this? The DA needs to take a vacation – not in the right job if he is trying to get even here!

  4. Crystal says:

    Thats BULLS**t!

  5. TheFishy says:

    And we complain about over crowded prisons and jails. This person was a victim and resonably scared for her life. Sure it is easy to get away, but fact is a lot of time these victims are in denile and keep telling themselves things will be differnt. A stay in a metal facility would be more reasonable (but not 6 months).

  6. Nicolas Cruz says:

    Yes sent her to jail!!!! How much City and County resorces has she used that she has not paid for!!! I bet that someone heard and saw this go on like a child ???? I speak from experience as a child !!! My story is different and that LAPD in the 1960’s would look the other way! My mom would not let my dad punch her out! Back then when a man beat his girlfriend,wife ii was his business!!! Later on in life my dad spoke ill of my mom and I broke his nose and I hit with the fist of the little boy who love his mom!!!! CRUZ-N, Pay forward !!!

  7. vee says:

    She has gone through hell and now the district attorney has taken the place of her abusive husband and is also beating her up with a jail sentence. This is a bone head decision! There had been abused women in the past where they tried to protect thier abusive husband from being charge in fear that they would make things worse for themselves. Of course, this move by these poor women is wrong because they should move out of the house and transfer to a shelter. I feel for these helpless women because many of them do not know where to go. The situation becomes more difficult when they have kids. This is a reason why the government should fund existing shelters for battered women so that these places can accommodate more people.

    Please help these poor women because their world becomes a hell on earth when they face an abusive husband like the monster in this news. DON’T PUNISH THEM. HELP THEM! JAIL IS A FORM OF PUNISHMENT AND NOT HELP!

  8. JR says:

    It seems that the victim has lied to protect herself in the past, but the beatings continued. Now that that aggressor will face jail time, he still seems to have the ability to put fear in this woman. And she may have good cause to fear him. The aggressor may have the ability to contact outside sources from jail or prison that can have her killed. There needs to be a system in place that is similar to the witness protection program where victims of repeated domestic abuse who have a valid fear for their lives can get relocated, get a new identity, and get ongoing counseling. If she does not get the help she needs, she will repeat the cycle, and one day she will be killed.

  9. Richard Quiring says:

    Debra Harper needs to be out of jail and out of the county starting a new life where men and women respect her for the human being she is. The District Attorney has simply experienced a “brain freeze” on this one.
    It is like a Nazi coming to your door in World War II Germany where you are hiding Jews. You obviously “lie” to protect the victims of Hitler’s racism.

  10. Give me a break says:

    This is the so absurd. Free the victim who is only scared for her life – not a criminal. Where do I start a petition for her release???? There’s nothing better to do in Barstow, huh?

  11. The SAM says:

    Maybe, just maybe, if her name were Deborah LOHAN, aw! you know the rest.
    poor woman was perhaps less than honest about the past but that’s no GD reason to lock her up! C’mon judge wake up, she was in fear for her life and safety! of course, dont worry your Honor. go home call it a day, puff on yer cigar and sip your brandy. Im no judge but I could’ve made a better ruling than that BS, like perhaps therapy. why not, people with drug problems get deversion.

  12. Jim Gates says:

    cops made a mistake she lied because she was scared and the courts made a mjistake you dont put domestic violence victims in jail it sends the wrong messege

  13. Jim Gates says:

    give me a break beat me to the punch i was just going to say this is barstow all desert probally have their own laws like mayberry from the andy griffeth show one judge one sheriff

  14. ginny says:

    As a woman who lived with domestic violence for a number of years I know first hand how a person becomes conditioned to deny any previous incidents. You will lie because you know the justice systems in place today will do the bare minimum to see that the person who hurt you is really going to be put away for a very long time. More often then not they get a slap on the hand. And restraining orders really don’t do anything. The last thing any of these women needed was to know that now they could end up in jail, another abusive environment, because they were afraid to tell the truth about past injuries. This is an outrage!

    1. Ron says:

      Ginny, sorry to hear about your past.

      We need to get the word out about this poor lady’s situation. Perhaps, to women abuse shelters and maybe even someone from a TV news station, that can take up this cause, for her release and help her get the help she deserves.

      P.S. , Ginny you were correct about restraining orders, unfortunately the victim, too often ends up dead. SHE NEEDS HELP NOW !!!

      1. kriste says:

        if i hear reporter right at beginning of report, the lady is already out and has moved…

      2. Ron says:


        Thanks for the information. You are right, she did serve her sentence and is out. I did not see the video, until you sent in your comment. But I didn’t hear where she is now. I hope the lady from Children’s Institute, in Echo Park, can get her the help she needs.

        Thanks for the heads up.

  15. larallei says:

    What a STUPID District Attorney. Of course she lied! Anyone who knows anything about domestic abuse knows that lethality increases when the perpetrator is “discovered”. The district attorney is the one that needs to be locked up for this outrage!

  16. Greg Rodmy says:

    II’m not pleased about spending so much public funds on prosecuting and imprisoning an abused 62 year-old woman. She was smacked with a tire-iron for phk sake. Can’t she use that as time served?

  17. Alice Ramirez says:

    It doesn’t make sense. There s a whole body of psych literature about the battered woman syndrome. This poor woman’s past lying, covering-for, is typical. She needs psychological counseling to keep her from choosing the same kind of animal next time around. (apologies to all four-footed furry, two-footed feathered creatures but there isn’t a better word). This poor woman deserves compassion, not jail time!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s