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The ex-boyfriend of a famed Hollywood marriage and sex therapist appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Wednesday, as a judge ruled he has to stand trial for her murder after his defense attorney argued he had ‘sufficient opportunity’ to use a syringe filled with nicotine on the victim – but didn’t.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli on Wednesday rejected defense attorneys’ claims that there was insufficient evidence presented at a hearing before another judge last September in which Gareth Pursehouse, 43, was ordered to stand trial for the February 15, 2020 death of Amie Harwick, who until 2018 was engaged to The Price Is Right host and actor Drew Carey.  

Defense attorneys have claimed that DNA evidence found at the scene of Harwick’s Hollywood Hills home linking Pursehouse to her death could not be accurately dated – and neither could the scratches and bruises found on Pursehouse after he was caught by police. In fact, they argued, the DNA may have been contaminated.

And on Wednesday, one of his two defense attorneys argued that Pursehouse had ‘sufficient opportunity’ to use a syringe filled with a ‘lethal’ amount of nicotine that he brought to her house that night if he had wanted to kill her, but ‘she wasn’t killed by a syringe, she was killed by a fall.’

‘If he had the intention to kill her, he could have killed her within a minute or two, because he is so much larger than her,’ the defense attorney argued in footage of Wednesday’s hearing obtained by DailyMail.com.

Prosecutors, however, have pointed to testimony from some of Harwick’s friends, and her roommate who heard what ‘sounded like bodies hitting the ground’ and the ‘sound of women choking’ to prove he threw Harwick, 38, off a third-floor balcony at her home.

Pursehouse is charged with one count each of murder and first-degree residential burglary, along with the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.

If convicted, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

Gareth Pursehouse, 43 (right), will stand trial for the February 15, 2020, death of Amie Harwick, who until 2018 was engaged to The Price Is Right host and actor Drew Carey

Gareth Pursehouse, 43 (right), will stand trial for the February 15, 2020, death of Amie Harwick, who until 2018 was engaged to The Price Is Right host and actor Drew Carey

Gareth Pursehouse, 43 (right), will stand trial for the February 15, 2020, death of Amie Harwick, who until 2018 was engaged to The Price Is Right host and actor Drew Carey

One of his defense attorneys, left, argued that Pursehouse had 'sufficient opportunity' to use a syringe filled with nicotine that he brought to her house the night she died, but 'she wasn't killed by a syringe, she was killed by a fall'

One of his defense attorneys, left, argued that Pursehouse had 'sufficient opportunity' to use a syringe filled with nicotine that he brought to her house the night she died, but 'she wasn't killed by a syringe, she was killed by a fall'

One of his defense attorneys, left, argued that Pursehouse had ‘sufficient opportunity’ to use a syringe filled with nicotine that he brought to her house the night she died, but ‘she wasn’t killed by a syringe, she was killed by a fall’

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli on Wednesday rejected defense attorneys' claims that there was insufficient evidence presented at a hearing before another judge last September

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli on Wednesday rejected defense attorneys' claims that there was insufficient evidence presented at a hearing before another judge last September

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli on Wednesday rejected defense attorneys’ claims that there was insufficient evidence presented at a hearing before another judge last September

Amie Harwick (pictured) was pronounced dead on February 15, 2020, after she was found 'struggling to breathe' after apparently falling from the third-floor balcony of her Hollywood Hills home

Amie Harwick (pictured) was pronounced dead on February 15, 2020, after she was found 'struggling to breathe' after apparently falling from the third-floor balcony of her Hollywood Hills home

Amie Harwick (pictured) was pronounced dead on February 15, 2020, after she was found ‘struggling to breathe’ after apparently falling from the third-floor balcony of her Hollywood Hills home

Gareth Pursehouse, 43, was ordered on Wednesday to stand trial for his ex, Amie Harwick's, alleged murder

Gareth Pursehouse, 43, was ordered on Wednesday to stand trial for his ex, Amie Harwick's, alleged murder

Gareth Pursehouse, 43, was ordered on Wednesday to stand trial for his ex, Amie Harwick’s, alleged murder

Pursehouse had previously dated Harwick, but after they broke up in 2011, Harwick got a protective order against him. Friends have previously told DailyMail.com that Harwick described Pursehouse as her ‘crazy ex’, while LA court records show she petitioned for a second restraining order in 2012, though the second order was dismissed after she did not follow up her application.

Her restraining order had recently expired when she saw him at a pornography industry awards party run by industry magazine XBIZ and hosted by porn legend and Donald Trump’s alleged mistress, Stormy Daniels, just one month before her death.

Harwick was reportedly at the January 16 party due to her work for a charity providing mental health support to women in the sex industry, while Pursehouse was there working as a photographer.

Pursehouse and Harwick allegedly got into an argument at the party, as he told her that she ruined his life, and called her a ‘bitch.’

Nearly one month later, police responded to Harwick’s home on Mound Street at around 1.15am, following a call by Harwick’s roommate, who reported hearing screaming.

The roommate has testified that he went to the back patio with police and found her ‘struggling to breathe.’

Harwick was then taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead from her injuries. In the days that followed, the LA coroner ruled that the former Playboy model died from blunt-force injuries to her head and torso, though they also noted ‘evidence of manual strangulation.’

Pursehouse was later arrested at his Playa Del Rey home, released on a $2 million bail, but was re-arrested two days later and formally charged with murder and burglary.

Harwick was engaged to The Price Is Right host and actor Drew Carey until 2018. They are pictured here at a holiday party in December 2017

Harwick was engaged to The Price Is Right host and actor Drew Carey until 2018. They are pictured here at a holiday party in December 2017

Harwick was engaged to The Price Is Right host and actor Drew Carey until 2018. They are pictured here at a holiday party in December 2017

Prosecutors allege that Pursehouse broke into Harwick’s Hollywood Hills home that night and waited for about four hours for her to return in an attempt to ‘catch her by surprise’ while he was carrying a syringe containing a ‘lethal’ dose of nicotine.

‘With his strength, he throws her over the balcony,’ Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila told a judge last September, according to City News Service, noting that Harwick, at five-foot-four-inches and 120 pounds likely fought back against Purehouse – who is six-foot-three-inches and 100 pounds heavier than she was.

He further claimed that DNA evidence found underneath her fingernails and on a French door in her living room linked Pursehouse to the scene, but one of his lawyers, Jannet Santiso said the DNA evidence could not be dated, and neither could the scratches and bruises found on Pursehouse in the aftermath.

She questioned whether the DNA may have been contaminated, City News Service reports, while another defense attorney, Robin Bernstein-Lev, told the judge that just because Pursehouse appeared emotional and distraught when they met up outside the January 16, 2020 awards show, it did not prove anything other than he was trying to talk to her.

Bernstein-Lev claimed there is ‘no evidence Mr. Pursehouse ever made a threat of harm’ and ‘no evidence of a homicidal intent.’

‘There is no evidence that she was thrown from a balcony,’ she claimed, adding prosecutors are ‘asking this court to speculate.’

One month before her death, Harwick attended a pornography industry awards party run by industry magazine XBIZ and hosted by porn legend and Donald Trump's alleged mistress, Stormy Daniels

One month before her death, Harwick attended a pornography industry awards party run by industry magazine XBIZ and hosted by porn legend and Donald Trump's alleged mistress, Stormy Daniels

One month before her death, Harwick attended a pornography industry awards party run by industry magazine XBIZ and hosted by porn legend and Donald Trump’s alleged mistress, Stormy Daniels

Pursehouse (circled) also attended the awards ceremony as a photographer. He reportedly got into an argument with Harwick at the party, saying she ruined his life, and calling her a 'bitch'

Pursehouse (circled) also attended the awards ceremony as a photographer. He reportedly got into an argument with Harwick at the party, saying she ruined his life, and calling her a 'bitch'

Pursehouse (circled) also attended the awards ceremony as a photographer. He reportedly got into an argument with Harwick at the party, saying she ruined his life, and calling her a ‘bitch’

Harwick was found unconscious after falling from a third-floor balcony in her home, pictured

Harwick was found unconscious after falling from a third-floor balcony in her home, pictured

Harwick was found unconscious after falling from a third-floor balcony in her home, pictured

But Harwick’s friends have said Pursehouse was dangerous, and had apparently scared Harwick at the pornography awards reception.

Jasmin St. Clare claimed that Harwick told her just days after the party that when Pursehouse saw her there, he began screaming at her.  

‘She had never mentioned him before,’ said St Clare. ‘He wasn’t like a Drew Carey where she’d mention him, or any of her other exes who were more significant.

‘The first I heard of him was that a psycho ex of hers started screaming at her at the XBiz awards.

‘I spoke to her a few days after that. She was just like ”yeah I saw my crazy ex there”, it was just an over-the-head thing. She doesn’t see the bad in people. But was she concerned? Yes.’

Even Evans said she heard the alleged altercation from another room at the party.

‘There was an argument. Someone was screaming at their other half, that was what people perceived of the argument. You could hear loud voices. But I’m not somebody who’s going to walk towards a problem,’ she said.

Hernando Chaves, who was on hand at the XBiz Awards Ceremony, also testified that Harwick discussed safety plans after talking with Pursehouse, and later texted him that she rebuffed Pursehouse’s subsequent attempt to reach out to her after finding her phone number online.

Another, Robert Coshland, testified that Harwick told him that Pursehouse behaved very irrationally at the awards show and told him: ‘If anything ever happens to me, it would be Gareth who did it.’

The friends have also testified that they had never seen Harwick smoke cigarettes, vape or inject herself – and do not know why she would have a syringe full of nicotine with her at her death. 

Source: Daily Mail

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