A Virginia woman was found guilty of killing her mother and sister before staging the scene to look like a murder-suicide on Monday.
Megan Hargan, 39, made it seem like her younger sibling Helen Hargan, 23, shot Pamela Hargan, 63, according to prosecutors in Fairfax County, Virginia. Megan was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, and two counts of use of a firearm.
Megan Believed Her Mother Favored Her Sister Over Her
She killed her mom Pamela and sister Helen on July 14, 2017 after Pamela did not give her $400,000 for her to buy a home, prosecutors said. Megan also allegedly believed her mother favored her sister over her.
Megan tried to make fraudulent transactions from her mother's account the day before and on the day of the murders, Fairfax County Police Major Ed O'Carroll said at the time of her arrest in 2018. Megan shot both women using a .22 caliber rifle to make sure they did not stop her, said prosecutors.
Double-Murder Earlier Investigated as Murder-Suicide
Fairfax County police discovered the bodies of Helen and Pamela with a rifle wedged between the former's legs and the muzzle pointing up. They initially described the women's deaths as a murder-suicide. But the investigation suggested a more chilling family tragedy.
Investigators found that Helen had a single, point-blank gunshot wound in the top of Helen's head. "Someone put the gun to the top of her head and pulled the trigger, and it went straight down to her neck. That's how you get a wound like that," the prosecutor said.
Megan defense attorneys also argued that case was a murder-suicide and Helen was responsible. Helen called her boyfriend and said Megan killed her mom, attorneys said in closing arguments. Then, they argue, she killed herself. They told jurors that Helen put the gun to her own head and fired using her toes.
Helen's fiancÃ© Carlos Guitierrez testified that he was in Texas when she called him frightened and sobbing from the family home in Virginia in a series of calls to say that Megan killed their mother Pamela. He said he implored her to leave but she said she was worried for Megan's daughter, who was also in the home.
Gutierrez said he eventually could no longer reach Helen. Prosecutors said Megan shot her sister. Gutierrez said he received strange texts from Helen's phone, but he believed that Megan had sent them impersonating Helen.
"Everything is fine," a message stated. "I'm not mad at Megan."
Megan Facing Life Imprisonment
"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," Fairfax County Commonwealth's Attorney Steve Descano. "We will be asking or a substantial sentence that reflects the seriousness of the crime."
Jurors recommended two sentences of life in prison. Twenty years to life in prison was possible for each of the two first-degree murder convictions. The sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 28.