A Virginia woman has been found guilty in the 2017 double murder of her mother and younger sister, in which she staged the scene to make it look like a murder-suicide in the family’s multi-million dollar home, according to published reports.
A jury found Megan Hargan, 39, guilty on all counts including first-degree murder, for the deaths of her sister Helen Hargan, 23, and her mother, Pamela Hargan, 63, the Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement,People reported.
Hargan was also found guilty of two counts of use of a firearm, the news outlet said.
Jurors recommended two life sentences, according to NBC Washington. Twenty years to life in prison was possible for each of the two first-degree murder convictions,NBC Washington reported.
Prosecutors and police said that Megan Hargan tried to pin the murder on her sister Helen, the news outlet reported.
Descano said “as the investigation deepened, Megan Hargan became the primary suspect,” People reported, and called the killings “a tragedy all for the money.
“Evidence submitted at trial revealed Megan Hargan was angry because she thought her mother favored her sister, Helen, and because Pamela did not make a $400,000 wire transfer to purchase a home for Megan,” he said, the news outlet reported.
As the verdict was read, Megan Hargan leaned on her attorney’s shoulder, NBC Washington reported.
Prosecutors said Megan used a .22 caliber rifle to shoot her mother and then her sister, staged the scene inside the home, sent fake text messages, and made up a false story that painted Helen as the culprit,The Washington Post reported.
According to court records, before their murders, Pamela Hargen had bought Helen a home that was in the process of being built, People reported.
During the 13-day trial, jurors heard testimony from Ashley Hargan, Megan’s surviving sister, who sobbed when the verdict was announced, according to The Washington Post.
They also heard from Helen’s boyfriend, Carlos Gutierrez, who had been out of town at the time of the slaying but described the frantic call Helen made to him during the terrifying ordeal, according to People.
“She told me her sister had killed her mother,” Gutierrez told the court.
Gutierrez told the prosecutor that Helen said she never saw her mother’s dead body, but said “the door was cracked and she could hear her mom gasping,” NBC Washington reported
Gutierrez testified that Helen told him that Megan shot and killed their mother because she was afraid that her mother was going to take her 8-year-old daughter away from her, the news outlet reported.
“She was saying she didn’t know what to do,” he testified. She said the little girl “was in the house as well and she didn’t know how to get her out,” People reported.
He said he begged Helen to get out of the house, but said that his girlfriend did not want to leave or call 911 because she feared for her niece, People reported.
According to Gutierrez, as this was happening, he testified that Megan was “on the computer transferring money,” People reported. It was the same information he gave to the authorities in 2017, according to People.
Shortly after, Gutierrez said he lost contact with Helen, and when he tried to call her back she did not respond, according to People.
He said that Megan eventually answered the phone and told him that Helen and her mother were reportedly arguing but refused to let him talk to Helen, Gutierrez testified, NBC Washington reported.
Extremely concerned for his girlfriend’s welfare, Guitierrez called 911.
According to court documents, Megan’s lawyer said that Megan was not home at the time of the murders, People reported.
“We in Fairfax County have no tolerance for such disregard for human life, and I am committed to addressing crimes of this magnitude with the seriousness they merit,” Descano said, according to People.
Tammy North, the sister of Pamela Hargen, told People, in part, “my heart hurts and is broken,” she said.