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A Virginia woman who shot her mother and sister dead then staged the scene as a murder-suicide was served two life sentences following her second conviction for the 2017 killings.
Megan Hargan was once again handed two life sentences, the Fairfax County commonwealth attorney announced, and an additional six years for gun charges on Jan. 26.
The 41-year-old was granted a new trial after she was initially sentenced to life in prison in March 2022 on two counts of murder in the deaths of Helen Hargan, 23, and Pamela Hargan, 63, at the Washington, D.C., home they all shared.
After shooting her mother and sister on July 14, 2017, Hargan staged the scene as a murder-suicide, trying to make it appear as though her sister had killed her mother and turned the gun on herself, in order to steal money to pay for her new home in West Virginia.
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Megan Hargan was sentenced to life in prison for a second time on Jan. 26 after staging a murder-suicide in her mother and sister’s deaths. (FCPD)
Police initially said Helen had killed Pamela prior to killing herself. However, after a 16-month investigation, police determined Megan had killed both women.
Prosecutors say that jealousy motivated the killings: Hargan was resentful that her mother, a successful defense contractor executive, was helping her younger sister buy a house while she had to pay for hers by herself.
The transaction was flagged as fraudulent when Hargan attempted to transfer $400,000 from her mother’s bank account to her own the day before the killings, prosecutors said. She tried to make the same transfer again after shooting her mother in the head, prosecutors said.
Upon hearing gunshots inside the house, Hargan’s frightened and sobbing younger sister called her fiancé in Texas, Law & Crime reported. He urged her to leave the home, but Helen was worried for Megan’s daughter, who was also in the house.
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Helen’s fiancé said that after the panicked phone call he began to receive strange text messages from her phone. One read “I’m not mad at Megan,” according to court documents reviewed by the outlet – the fiancé told jurors he believed Hargan was impersonating her sister after killing her.
Hargan got a new trial after a judge determined that a juror acted improperly by conducting outside research before rendering her first verdict.
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The juror told a defense team investigator that she tested on an unloaded rifle whether it was possible to shoot oneself with a .22 using your toe to pull the trigger, as Megan’s defense team suggested Helen had done.
The juror determined it was impossible and shared that realization with the rest of the jury, which voted unanimously to convict Hargan in September 2022, according to NBC Washington.
“Clearly, a juror may not properly receive any information about a case he is hearing except in open court and in the manner provided by law,” Senior Assistant Public Defender Bryan T. Kennedy wrote of the decision to grant a retrial, Law & Crime reported.
The .22 rifle Hargan used belonged to her husband, according to WJAR, and was being temporarily stored in the residence.
But prosecutors immediately said they wanted to retry Hargan, leading to her latest sentence.
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“Megan Hargan’s actions in July 2017 go beyond what most of us can imagine,” the Fairfax Commonwealth Attorney Steve Descano wrote in a statement. “On a quiet morning in her mother’s home, she made an irreversible decision – one that would devastate her family and tear the community apart. First-degree murder is the most serious offense you can be convicted of in Virginia, and [Friday’s] sentence reflects the gravity of the defendant’s crimes.”
Christina Coulter is a U.S. and World reporter for Fox News Digital. Email story tips to [email protected].