Where is Gareth Pursehouse today? An update on his trial

Gareth Pursehouse

In the early hours of the day after Valentine’s Day 2020, Amie Harwick passed away at Cedar Sinai Medical Center, hours after first responders found her severely injured beneath the balcony of her home. Amie’s roommate, Michael Herman, had called the police after hearing sounds of a struggle. 

When the police asked Amie’s friends who they suspected of the murder, the police received one answer: Gareth Pursehouse, Amie’s violent and obsessive ex. Authorities arrested Pursehouse hours after Amie’s death, intent on finding justice for the beloved Harwick. 

Gareth Pursehouse is currently in prison, awaiting trial on charges of murder and first-degree residential burglary. 

Prosecutors convinced the court they had enough evidence to charge Gareth Pursehouse

Gareth Pursehouse appeared in court for a preliminary hearing in September 2021. Prosecutors presented DNA evidence showing he was present at Amie’s house on the night of the murder. They said the probability that the DNA collected at Amie’s home belonged to another person was one in one septillion. 

“The word of the day was septillion,” Rudy Torres, Gareth’s former friend, told CBS News. “That’s the one with 24 zeros. Most of the stuff went over my head, but I can remember septillion.”

Investigators also found Gareth’s DNA on Amie’s fingernails. They played surveillance footage from a neighbor’s CCTV camera showing someone fitting Gareth’s profile breaking into Amie’s house. 

The police also found a syringe containing nicotine – a lethal poison – on Amie’s balcony. Prosecutors argued that the syringe showed that Gareth intended to kill Amie. 

Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila told the court that Pursehouse waited for Amie for four hours, intent on killing her. “With his strength, he throws her over the balcony,” DA Avila said, noting that Pursehouse outweighed Amie by nearly 100 pounds. 

Defense attorneys countered by claiming the DNA evidence may have been contaminated and couldn’t be dated. They also argued that a confrontation between Gareth and Harwick a month before the murder didn’t prove that he wanted to harm her. 

According to them, Pursehouse didn’t intend to kill Amie. “There is no evidence that she was thrown from a balcony,” Robin Bernstein-Lev argued. “They’re asking this court to speculate.”

Judge Michael E. Pastor sided with the prosecution, ordering Gareth Pursehouse to stand trial for her murder. Pursehouse’s lawyers appealed, insisting that the damning DNA samples collected from Ms. Harwick’s nails and home couldn’t be dated. 

Furthermore, they claimed that Gareth didn’t poison Amie, despite having the opportunity to inject Amie with the nicotine. One attorney said:

“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.”

Judge George Lomeli rejected the appeal, upholding the order that Gareth Pursehouse stands trial for Amie Harwick’s murder. 

Harwick had predicted that Gareth would be responsible for anything that happened to her

Gareth Pursehouse And Amie Harwick

Amie Harwick and Gareth Pursehouse started dating in 2008. Grace Stanley, Amie’s friend, told CBS News there were no signs of trouble at the start of their relationship. “It was very obvious when I met him that he was taken by her,” Grace said. 

Harwick tried to hide the signs of abuse, but her friends eventually discovered Pursehouse was an abusive partner. On CBS’s 48 Hours, correspondent Erin Moriarty read the following statement from Amie sourced from police reports and the two restraining orders she obtained against Pursehouse:

“In mid-May, there were multiple arguments in which Gareth Pursehouse … choked me, suffocated me, pushed me against walls, kicked me, dropped me to the ground with forced force, restrained me, slammed my head into the ground, and punched me with a closed fist.”

Robert Coshland, Amie’s friend, said Amie stayed for as long as she did because she was determined to make things work. However, in 2012, Amie ended the relationship, much to Gareth’s chagrin. “Gareth didn’t take that very well at all,” Rudy Torres said. “He would start to get obsessive.”

Rudy and Pursehouse fell out after she chose to remain friends with her rather than him. Gareth continued to pester Amie: he sent messages to Amie’s friends looking to sabotage her friends; Amie believed he was behind the derogatory online comments she’d been receiving for years. 

Harwick assumed he’d moved on, but a chance meeting at an adult film industry gala in January 2020 proved he hadn’t. “There’s like a hundred people in this room and he’s screaming,” Robert Coshland said. “He’s a big guy and he’s screaming at her, sobbing… falls to the ground in a fetal position wailing.”

After the confrontation, Amie told Robert Coshland: “If anything ever happens to me… it’s him.” Amie also expressed her desire to improve the security in her house. Bizarrely, she called her parents and provided instructions for her funeral. Coshland added:

“She … told them that, if I die, I want to have an open casket funeral and I want an elaborate headstone and … like, very explicit wishes.”

Amie passed away two weeks after the phone call. Drew Carey, Amie’s ex-fiance, talked to CBS News about his reaction to the news: “I just started crying. And I just – I couldn’t even stand up. And – I – you know, didn’t think that was possible.”