Famed sex therapist Amie Harwick‘s ex-boyfriend has been charged with her murder after she fell to her death from a third-floor balcony at her home in Hollywood Hills, Calif.
Gareth Pursehouse, 41, is accused of throwing Harwick off the balcony after breaking into her home last Saturday, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Pursehouse has been charged with murder and first-degree residential burglary with the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait, the DA’s office announced on Wednesday. The special circumstance allegation would make Pursehouse eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors said.
It’s unclear if Pursehouse has an attorney. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday.
Police were called to Harwick’s home early Saturday after receiving a report of a “woman screaming.” They found her fatally injured beneath her third-storey balcony. She was rushed to hospital, where she later died.
“The investigation revealed possible evidence of a struggle in the upstairs as well as forced entry to the residence,” the LAPD said in a written statement before the charges were announced. “A canvass of the area located further evidence of an intruder (suspect) entering the property and leaving after the murder.”
Pursehouse was arrested that same afternoon by a joint FBI-LAPD task force. He was released after posting a US$2-million bond on Tuesday, but was re-arrested on a no-bail warrant the following day, the DA’s office says.
Pursehouse was Harwick’s ex-boyfriend and she had “recently expressed fear” about him, the LAPD previously said.
Harwick, 38, was a prominent family and sex therapist and former Playboy model who was previously engaged to Drew Carey, host of The Price is Right. The couple announced their engagement in 2018 but broke off their plans later that year.
“Amie and I had a love that people are lucky to have once in a lifetime,” Carey told People magazine in a statement on Monday. “She was a positive force in the world, a tireless and unapologetic champion for women, and passionate about her work as a therapist.”
Production on The Price is Right was halted for the week while Carey dealt with the news. He also posted a tribute to Harwick on Twitter.
I hope you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life that loves as much as she did. pic.twitter.com/xMkQIwR6d6
— 🅳🆁🅴🆆 🅲🅰🆁🅴🆈 (@DrewFromTV) February 17, 2020
Pursehouse faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted of the charges, the DA’s office says.
“A decision on whether to seek capital punishment will be made at a later date,” prosecutors said in a statement.
The charges have not yet been proven in court.
—With files from The Associated Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.