A trial to determine if a man facing capital murder charges is competent to stand trial this week was postponed.
Trial proceedings for Adrian Hargrove, 36, have been moved to August. If found competent to stand trial, and if convicted of charges filed in connection with the slayings of a pregnant teenage girl and her parents, the Richmond County Superior Court jury will be asked to set Hargrove’s punishment at life in prison with or without the possibility of parole or death.
The trial has been repeatedly postponed over the past five years.
Hargrove was arrested in the Feb. 9, 2008, slayings of Andrew Hartley Jr., 45, Sharon Hartley, 46, and Allyson Pederson, 18. Hargrove became a suspect after his estranged wife called the sheriff’s office when Hargrove came home in blood-soaked clothing, according to reports in The Augusta Chronicle in February 2008.
Hargrove has pleaded not guilty to charges of burglary, kidnapping, feticide, and murder and weapon charges for the deaths of the Hartleys and Pederson, who was five months pregnant at the time of her death.
Hargrove’s defense team intends to introduce at trial evidence of mental incompetency and mental retardation. At a hearing earlier this month, the defense attorneys were unsuccessful in convincing Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. that the two issues should be handled separately. The defense has the burden of proving mental retardation beyond a reasonable doubt and proving incompetency by the preponderance of the evidence – two different legal standards.
Investigators found the bodies of the Hartleys in a bedroom at their Bennock Mill Road home. Both had suffered multiple stab wounds, according to Chronicle reports.
Pederson’s body was found near Lock and Dam Road and the airport. Her body had been set on fire.