Triple homicide suspect competent to stand trial

 

A jury found Adrian Hargrove mentally competent to stand trial on capital murder charges Tuesday.

His death penalty trial is set to begin Monday with jury selection.

At the conclusion of Hargrove’s two-day trial in Richmond County Superior Court to determine his competency, the jury heard conflicting opinions about the triple homicide suspect from mental health professionals.

Lead defense attorney Newell Hamilton argued to the jury in closing that Hargrove wasn’t trying to escape justice. He only wanted the mental health treatment he needs to enable him to assist his attorneys in his defense.

“It’s about fundamental fairness,” Hamilton said.

Hargrove, 36, has pleaded not guilty in the Feb. 9, 2008, slayings of Andrew and Sharon Hartley and their pregnant 18-year-old daughter, Allyson Pederson.

District Attorney Ashley Wright argued to the jury in closing that Hargrove’s vague claims of hearing voices, seeing horned beasts, smelling things not there, tasting things not there and feeling imaginary touches was not believeable.

Doctors testified this week that such hallucinations are extremely rare and only seen in people with brain injuries, Wright said. A defense expert – a neurologist and psychiatrist – testified he examined Hargrove for brain damage and found none.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com

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