Competency trial begins for triple homicide suspect Adrian Hargrove



A competency trial for an Augusta man accused of committing a triple homicide began Monday in Richmond County Superior Court.

A jury must determine whether Adrian Har­grove is mentally competent before he can stand trial on the criminal charges.

Hargrove, 36, is accused of killing Andrew and Sha­ron Hartley and kidnapping and killing their pregnant daughter, 18-year-old Allyson Pederson, on Feb. 9, 2008. He has pleaded not guilty to charges that include capital murder.

On Monday, Hargrove’s attorney, Newell Hamilton, told the jury that Hargrove is incompetent to stand trial because he is mentally incapable of assisting his attorneys in his defense.

It’s not just a defense-hired psychiatrist who has diagnosed Hargrove as having schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, Hamilton said. Prison doctors reached the same conclusions years before the homicides, he said.

Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms said other doctors who have evaluated Har­grove believe he is competent. They believe he has exaggerated symptoms, which isn’t unusual for someone facing very serious charges, Syms said. That was also the conclusion a doctor reached in 2002, Syms said.

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