April 15, 2020
What started over a parking dispute turned into a series of events that lasted over a year in court and civil suits thereafter. With times being the way they are, something similar is bound to make headlines again sooner or later.
This precautionary tale involved two key individuals: Graham Harper and Jarred Ha. Both were University of Washington Seattle students, Harper was also a National Guard Reservist.
The story begins the early morning of January 25, 2015, when Ha and a woman named Maddison Story argued over a parking spot. Maddison Story was no stranger to the off-campus apartment complex. She had a tendency to park her car at a weird angle which would always end up taking up two parking spots. Ha and his roommates named her “Cheap bitch.”
Accounts differ on who hit who first, but the verbal argument Ha was having with Story ended up with Story’s friends bum-rushing Ha. Ha stated he felt “mobbed” and explained he didn’t know if he was swinging, pushing or punching or what the gender makeup of the entire group of friends was. Long story short, Ha ended up punching a woman named Victoria Shimizu and broke her glasses.
Enter Graham Harper. He was leaving a house party to get Mexican food and stumbled into the scene. Shimizu was crying and holding her eye and Ha was walking down the street with Story following him. Harper ran towards Ha and screamed, “You don’t hit girls!” Ha already left the scene and was walking away when Harper ran after him and began slamming Ha’s head against a car and punching him.
Ha then took out his three-inch blade and stabbed Harper six times in self-defense. Once in his inner thigh, the left side of his chest, twice in his stomach—the stomach wounds left parts of Harper’s intestine hanging out, according to Seattle Weekly.
This is where the precautionary warning comes to play. Jarred Ha left the scene, went back to his apartment and went to sleep because it was self-defense, he suffered a concussion, and he was not in the wrong. Well, when police arrived, they see an all-American looking white guy, National Guard Reservist stabbed six times; whose story do you think the police will believe?
The police didn’t believe Ha, neither did the prosecutors, UW Seattle or the media and leaving the scene made the whole situation even worse. One media outlet, called BroBible wrote: “It takes a real man like Graham to stand up to cowards attacking women.” Harper was even interviewed by Q13Fox, where he called Ha a “coward.” The Daily Mail headlined their article “Hero National Guardsman.” UW Seattle immediately suspended Ha. County Prosecutor’s Office filed first-degree assault charges against Ha, which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Jarred Ha was literally portrayed as a knife-wielding savage who hits women and Graham Harper was made to look like Captain America when in fact, he was actually Captain Save-A-Drunk-Chick. Bear in mind, Ha was 170 lbs. Harper was jacked and 240 lbs.
Fast forward 13 months later, Jarred Ha was acquitted of all charges with a rare ruling, stating Ha had good reason to fear for his life and was justified in stabbing Harper. This chain of events was because of two unaffiliated witnesses who were at the scene and testified Harper was the aggressor because Ha already left the scene of the altercation with the women when Harper began chasing him down. A 13-month ordeal that would not have taken place had Jarred Ha stayed at the scene, gave a statement of his accounts, which would have been reinforced by two unaffiliated witnesses who also gave their statements to police and the fact Harper’s blood-alcohol level was .13.
After Ha was acquitted, he pursued legal action against UW Seattle and later won. They were forced to readmit him. Harper’s family later sued Ha for medical costs, which was settled out of court and was covered by insurance, so it was out of Ha’s hands.
Moral of this story: Stay at the scene if you’re forced to defend yourself and follow all legal procedures. Stop attacking your attacker once he/she is rendered unable to pose an imminent threat. Had Ha continued to stab Harper, he would not have been acquitted and the very same witnesses who saved his life would have testified Ha continued his attack long after Harper was subdued. Ha would probably be sentenced to manslaughter at the very least.
Feature Images via The Daily Mail & The Daily