Friday, November 11, 2022

The Murders of Pamela & Helen Hargan

From left to right: Pamela Hargan, Helen Hargan, and Megan Hargan

Pamela Hargan (63) and her daughter Helen Hargan (23) were found shot to death in Pamela’s McLean, Virginia home on July 14th, 2017. When their bodies were first discovered by the Fairfax County police, it was believed the deaths were a murder-suicide. In fact, it was originally reported that Helen killed her own mother before turning the gun on herself. However, within days investigators found evidence that suggested that something else happened.

It was soon revealed that a man from Texas called the local Virginia authorities on the day of the shootings. This man was eventually identified as Helen’s boyfriend, Carlos. During said call, a police dispatcher was recorded saying, “Caller is third party. Says his girlfriend advised that her sister killed her mother.” This phone call suggests that Helen was alive for several minutes after Pamela was shot. Additionally, the phone call suggests that Helen was trying to hide from an attacker–as Pamela’s body was found in the downstairs laundry room, and Helen’s was found in an upstairs bedroom. Investigators eventually declared that Pamela and Helen had been murdered, and the crime scene had been staged to look like a murder-suicide.

For over a year, investigators did not reveal if Pamela’s older daughter/Helen’s older sister Megan Hargan (35) was a suspect or not. They did, however, reveal that Megan had attempted to make fraudulent wire transfers from Pamela’s financial account on the day of the murders. After several months of investigating, Megan was finally arrested and charged with the murders of her mother and sister in November 2018. Other relatives of the Hargans state that they are not surprised by Megan’s arrest at all. Pamela’s sister Tammy North said that she believes the murders were motivated by money and jealousy. Pamela had recently bought Helen a house that she was preparing to move into before she was killed. Tammy believes that Megan was jealous about this, as she and her 7 year-old daughter could not afford to move out of Pamela’s home.

Investigators have stated that this investigation is still ongoing and there may be more charges in the future.
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UPDATE (March 28th, 2022):

Megan Hargan has been found guilty of murdering both her mother, Pamela Hargan, and her sister, Helen Hargan.

During the trial, the prosecution stated that money was the main motivation for the murders, especially since Megan was closing on a house in West Virginia. Shortly after Megan shot and killed Pamela, she went on the computer and attempted to transfer money from Pamela’s account to her own account.  Helen’s boyfriend testified to this, as he was reportedly on the phone with Helen at the time Pamela’s murder occurred. Helen’s boyfriend said he encouraged Helen to leave the house, but she was concerned about leaving her young niece—Megan’s daughter—behind. At some point after Helen and her boyfriend hung up the phone, Megan shot and killed Helen as well. She then placed the shotgun near Helen to make the deaths appear to be a murder-suicide.

Megan’s defense attorneys argued that Pamela’s and Helen’s deaths were, in fact, the result of a murder-suicide. However, the physical evidence proved otherwise. Helen was shot on the top of her head and had a wound that went straight down to her neck. The defense argued that Helen pulled the trigger herself using her toes. The prosecution argued that this would have been very difficult to pull off.

The jury ultimately sided with the prosecution and found Megan Hargan guilty on all counts. They have recommended that she be given two life sentences.
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UPDATE (November 2022): Megan Hargan will go on trial again. 

Although Megan has already been convicted of murdering both her mother and sister, a judge has decided to vacate her conviction and hold a new trial. This decision was made after it was revealed that one of the jurors tested out the theory presented by the defense. As previously noted, Megan’s defense attorneys argued that it was Helen Hargan – not Megan – who shot their mother. The defense also argued that Helen later shot herself by using her toe to pull the trigger.

One of the jurors later told one of Megan’s defense attorneys that she used a rifle to test the defense theory of Helen pulling the trigger with her toe. The juror concluded that it was not possible for Helen to have shot herself in this way, as the medical examiner determined that she was shot in the top of the head. The juror then shared these findings with the other jurors during deliberations.

Megan’s defense attorneys argued that re-enacting the shooting was juror misconduct, as the judge instructed the jurors to not do any outside research during the trial. As such, a retrial was granted. Further updates will be provided as they come. 

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