Crime and Courts

Evidence Released in McLean Murder-Suicide Hoax

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News4 has obtained video interviews Fairfax County detectives had with a McLean woman recently convicted of killing her own mother and sister before staging the scene to look like a murder-suicide.

Megan Hargan was found guilty in March on all counts, including first-degree murder, in the 2017 shooting deaths of her mother, 63-year-old business executive Pamela Hargan, and her sister, 23-year-old Helen Hargan. Prosecutors said Megan Hargan staged the crime scene as a murder-suicide committed by Helen Hargan.

Detectives brought Megan Hargan in for questioning five days after the shooting.

At first, police showed her sympathy.

Detective: "Friday is difficult, very difficult for you. It's understandable. Obviously, Friday is important."

Megan Hargan: "I know. I’m sorry. I’m just exhausted."

At the time, police were still publicly portraying the deaths as a murder-suicide. But detectives had already discovered evidence suggesting it was Megan Hargan who had a motive; she was closing on a new home the day of the killings and was trying to fraudulently transfer more than $400,000 from her mom’s bank account, police said.

Detectives confronted her with a phone call to the bank the day before the deaths in which they say she was heard impersonating her mother.

Detective: "You presented yourself as someone that you are not in order to secure a wire transfer for over $400,000 on two, two occasions."

Then, detectives pressed harder. They asked her why she answered her mother's phone when the bank called on the day of the shootings.

Attorneys for a woman accused of murdering her mother and sister maintain that their deaths were a murder-suicide. Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey was in the courtroom for opening statements..

Detective: "You are pretending to be your mother."

Another detective asks, "If she’s alive, why isn’t she answering the phone calls?"

Megan Hargan then starts to break. There was never a clear confession, but, unable to answer detectives' questions, she throws up her hands.

Detective : "You have got to unload this ..."

Megan Hargan: "Blame me. That's fine. There's nothing. Just blame me."

Another key piece of evidence was a recording made when a detective told Hargan and her sister Ashley their mother and sister were dead.

"This isn't real. This is not real," Megan Hargan can be heard crying in the audio.

But within minutes, Hargan pointed to her little sister as the killer, telling detectives and her family there had been trouble between Helen and her mom.

That police and prosecutors say Megan Hargan staged the scene makes the crime especially heinous, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said. 

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports on emotional testimony in the trial of a McLean woman accused of murdering her mother and sister and staging it to look like a murder-suicide.

“Obviously, committing a murder is one of the worst things you can do, but then also trying to pin that on another victim, on your own sister, really goes to show, quite frankly, the depravity of this act,” he said, calling the killings “a tragedy all for money.”

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.

Megan Hargan maintains that she's innocent.

Crime scene tape surrounded the Hargan home in the 6700 block of Dean Drive the day the mother’s and daughter’s bodies were found. Fairfax County police discovered a gruesome scene that included a rifle wedged between Helen Hargan’s legs.

Police arrested Megan Hargan in November 2018 — more than a year after the killings — and said they had determined that she gunned down her mother and sister and then staged the scene to frame her sister as the shooter. 

Megan Hargan’s young daughter was in the home at the time of the shootings.

A judge will deliver the final sentence at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 28.

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