LOS ANGELES — The ex-boyfriend of slain Pineapple Support therapist Dr. Amie Harwick was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder for her February 2020 death.
After deliberating for seven hours over the past two days, the jury found Gareth Pursehouse guilty of first-degree murder — with the special circumstance of lying in wait — and first-degree burglary.
Under California law, Pursehouse could be sentenced to life without parole at the next hearing on Dec. 6.
Purehouse was arrested shortly after the murder of Harwick, who at the time was helping several adult performers in her capacity as a therapist for mental health nonprofit Pineapple Support.
As XBIZ reported at the time, Harwick died as the result of a fall from the third-story balcony of her Hollywood Hills residence. She had previously obtained a restraining order against Pursehouse. Investigators later learned that she had expressed fear about Pursehouse in the days before her death, after a chance encounter at an industry event in January.
Pursehouse was arrested on suspicion of murder in connection to her death, released on $2 million bail and then re-arrested by the LAPD on a no-bail warrant. His trial was delayed for three and half years, finally starting on Aug. 29 of this year and ending with Thursday’s verdict.
A Beloved Industry Therapist
Harwick worked in the adult industry as a Playboy model, before becoming a licensed therapist specializing in relationships and sex therapy. An accomplished author, her 2014 book, “The New Sex Bible for Women,” garnered widespread acclaim and solidified her as a go-to media source for sexual health and wellness advice and information.
She was an advocate for sex workers and collaborated with Pineapple Support to offer free and low-cost therapy options to active adult performers. Before her death, she was scheduled to host an eight-week support group for performers, focusing on examining triggers and trauma to gain insight on behaviors and facilitate better well-being.
Pineapple Support founder Leya Tanit issued a statement on behalf of the organization at the time of her murder.
“We are devastated to learn of the death of Amie Harwick, a longtime Pineapple Support therapist and a true force for good in this world,” said Tanit. “Amie was one of the first therapists to join our team and conducted regular in-person sessions for sex workers in her Los Angeles office. She contributed to our Pineapple Support Summit in October, worked with performers directly in a series of pioneering workshops, and was in talks with us about developing new projects that could help lessen the mental health burdens faced by performers. She was a friend and ally — funny, kind, intelligent and dedicated. Our hearts are broken.”
At the time and throughout the years, some of Harwick’s industry clients spoke with XBIZ privately, and unanimously shared moving stories about the difference she had made in their lives and the essential, nonjudgmental care she had provided to sex workers.