Victim's Boyfriend Gives Emotional Testimony in Murder-Suicide Hoax Trial

Jury listens to police recording of sisters being told their mother and youngest sister were dead

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Fairfax County jurors listened to a heart-wrenching audio recording made by police that captured the moment when two sisters were told their mother and youngest sister were dead, both shot in the head.

There was an outburst of anguish as Megan Hargan and Ashley Gerber cry out, sobbing, wailing, saying over and over again, “I don’t understand!”

Now Megan Hargan is on trial for the killings, facing two counts of murder. Listening from her seat at the defense table today, she broke down all over again, her attorneys trying to comfort her. 

Key testimony came from the younger victim’s boyfriend. 

At times sobbing, an emotional Carlos Gutierrez described the stunning call he got from his girlfriend the morning of July 14, 2017. He was in Dallas. His girlfriend, Helen Hargan, was in the McLean home she shared with her mother, Pam, sister, Megan, and Megan’s daughter. 

“She told me her sister had killed her mother,” testified Gutierrez. 

“She sounded very frightened and scared,” he said. “I could hear her mouth trembling, and she was sobbing.”

Gutierrez said when he asked what caused the shooting, his girlfriend told him the defendant feared her mother was going to try to take her 8-year-old daughter away from her.

“Did Helen ever say where Megan was in the house?” asked the prosecutor. 

“She said she was on the computer transferring money,” replied Gutierrez.

She sounded very frightened and scared. I could hear her mouth trembling, and she was sobbing.

Carlos Gutierrez, victim's boyfriend

But Gutierrez testified Helen Hargan refused his pleas to leave the house and repeatedly told him not to call 911, explaining she was worried about what might happen to the little girl if police showed up.

“She was saying she didn’t know what to do because her niece … was in the house as well and she didn’t know how to get her out,” said Gutierrez. 

“Did Helen ever say she saw her mom’s dead body?” asked the prosecutor. 

“She never said she saw her mom’s body, but she said the door was cracked and she could hear her mom gasping,” replied Gutierrez.

He began to worry even more when his later phone calls to his girlfriend went unanswered. He said eventually someone with an unfamiliar voice picked up, identifying herself as Megan Hargan and telling Carlos her mom and sister had been arguing over a speeding ticket. He said the defendant refused to hand the phone over to his girlfriend. 

After she hung up, Gutierrez said he immediately called 911, telling the operator: “I think this is life or death. I think someone might be dead.” 

He also later called the other sister, Ashley Gerber, to tell her of his fears. 

Photos introduced as evidence showed what police found when they arrived at the home on Dean Drive. Pam Hargan was on the floor near the kitchen, a bloody blanket wrapped around her head. Helen Hargan was dead on the upstairs bathroom floor, a .22-caliber rifle resting between her legs, its barrel pointed toward her head. 

Police at first viewed the scene as a murder-suicide. 

Megan Hargan was not charged for another 16 months. Prosecutors say she killed to gain access to her mom’s money. She and her husband were set to close on a new home in West Virginia. In opening statements Tuesday, Hargan’s defense attorneys told the jury they will try to show it was Helen Hargan who pulled the trigger, killing her mom, then herself. 

When the bodies were discovered, Megan Hargan was driving with her daughter to West Virginia to settle into her new home. After her father called to tell her there was a police investigation underway, she returned to his home. (He and Pamela Hargan had divorced years earlier). Gerber arrived there, too.

In the police audio recording, as the women are crying, Megan Hargan composes herself enough to tell her sister there had been trouble that morning between their sister and mom. She said Pam Hargan informed Helen Hargan she was canceling a contract on a new house she was having built for her youngest daughter in Aldie. Helen Hargan planned to have Gutierrez join her there, but Megan Hargan told the family her mother disapproved and that there was great friction that morning.

“Helen had been so angry all the time over everything,” Megan Hargan said in the recording. “I just don’t understand why. She could have the greatest life ever.”

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