After a monthlong jury selection process, witnesses began testifying Monday in the death penalty trial.
Hargrove has pleaded not guilty, but in his opening statement Monday lead defense attorney Newell Hamilton told the jury there was no dispute Hargrove killed three people Feb. 9, 2008.
Hargrove was arrested after the burning body of 18-year-old Allyson Pederson was found near the Lock and Dam and the bodies of her mother and stepfather, Sharon and Andrew Hartley, were found in their Bennock Mill Road home.
Delores Mobley testified Monday she rushed to the Hargrove home after a frantic call from her grandson. When she got there, her grandson told her what Hargrove had said and showed her bloody clothes and blood-splattered shoes. She also saw a bloody butcher knife and gloves in the trash can.
Her daughter and grandchildren were extremely upset but Hargrove was calm, drinking a beer.
“He said he hadn’t done anything,” Mobley said. She called 911.
The physical evidence Hargrove left in his house ties him to the slayings, Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms told the jury in his opening statement. DNA matched blood found on the items to Pederson and her stepfather. All three victims had been beaten and repeatedly stabbed, Syms said.
Pederson’s boyfriend, Devon Jackson, who lived a short distance from the Hartley home, testified Monday that Pederson called him about 8:30 a.m. and told him that she was going with Hargrove to help him tow a car. Jackson testified that he stepped outside and watched as the two drove off in Hargrove’s car.
Jackson was upset and called Pederson’s home, her siblings and Hargrove’s wife. Pederson was pregnant and a couple of friends had told him that Hargrove was the father.
In a second call to Hargrove’s wife, she got her husband on the phone but didn’t tell him that Jackson was also on the line. “(Hargrove said) he’d just killed three people,” Jackson testified.
Hargrove’s attorney asked the jury to keep an open mind about the case in which it will have to determine punishment – life in prison with or without the possibility of parole, or death – if Hargrove is convicted of murder.
Hamilton said the defense team will seek a verdict of guilty but mentally ill. They will present witnesses to tell the jury how growing up in an extremely violent home left Hargrove with post traumatic stress disorder and schizoaffective disorder.