Adrian Hargrove, 36, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to charges that include murder, feticide, and kidnapping.
He is accused of committing the Feb. 9, 2008, slayings of Andrew Hartley Jr., 45, his wife, Sharon Hartley, 46, and her daughter, Allyson Pederson, 18.
On Wednesday, Hargrove’s defense team asked Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. to reconsider a ruling he made earlier or allow the defense to take the issue to the Georgia Supreme Court before any trial begins.
Blanchard denied both requests.
Newell Hamilton and April Herbert of the Capital Defender’s Office sought to keep out any evidence regarding a 1998 cruelty to children conviction.
While Blanchard agreed that Hargrove’s plea couldn’t withstand a constitutional challenge and the conviction itself cannot be presented to the jury in the death penalty case, the judge ruled prosecutors can introduce evidence from the case.
The 1998 case against Hargrove began as a charge of child molestation. He was arrested after a 3-year-old girl in Franklin County, where he was living at the time, was diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.
District Attorney Ashley Wright argued that the judge’s prior ruling in the case should stand. Although the videotaped interview with the child in 1998 has been lost, the social worker assigned to the case still remembers the details and has notes in her case file, Wright said.
If a jury finds Hargrove guilty of the murder charges, the jury will be asked to set the punishment at life in prison with or without the possibility of parole, or death.
The Hartleys were found stabbed to death in the bedroom of the Bennock Mill Road home. Pederson’s body was found set on fire off Lock and Dam Road near the Augusta Regional Airport. Pederson, according to earlier reports in The Augusta Chronicle, was five months pregnant at the time.