Adrian Hargrove's wife testifies in his capital murder trial

Adrian Hargrove sits between attorneys Newell Hamilton (left) and April Herbert during a pretrial hearing. Hargrove is accused of killing three people, including a pregnant teenager.

Adrian Hargrove proclaimed in recorded phone calls to his wife that he had nothing to do with a triple homicide, and pumped her for details about what evidence sheriff’s investigators had.

Hargrove, 36, has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in the 2008 deaths of 18-year-old Allyson Pederson and her mother and stepfather, Sharon and Andrew Hartley. Tuesday was the second day of testimony in Hargrove’s capital murder trial in Richmond County Superior Court.

Denise Mobley described her marriage to Hargrove as volatile and one she wanted to end the night of Feb. 8, 2008. Hargrove said he wanted to stay together, however, and they talked, drank alcohol and ingested cocaine until dawn, she testified. Hargrove left after she went to bed. When he came back hours later, he was covered in blood, Mobley testified.

Before the day was over, Hargrove was in custody.

“I’m (going to) beat this,” Hargrove told Mobley in a phone call from the jail.

The jury listened Tuesday as recordings of some of those calls were played in court.

Hargrove wanted her help. He needed to know what the sheriff’s investigators knew and what they didn’t. When Mobley told him that officers had taken over their home as a crime scene, he sharply asked her who had given them permission to search the house. No one, she responded. That, he said, would be crucial.

Motions to suppress evidence that was gathered in the investigation failed, however.

The physical evidence is extensive. Police recovered bloody tennis shoes, gloves and a large butcher knife from Hargrove’s home. Blood was found in Hargrove’s vehicle. Huge pools of blood were found throughout the Hartleys’ bedroom, where they were beaten and repeatedly stabbed, in their Bennock Mill Road home. Officers also gathered evidence from an empty home where Pederson was beaten and stabbed to death.

Richmond County Sheriff’s Investigator Steve Fanning testified Tuesday that blood was found on every wall in the bedroom where the Hartleys died.

Both victims ended up on the bedroom floor. Blood at the scene showed they were struck while on the floor, Fanning testified.

Pederson’s body was found off Lock and Dam Road. She was several months’ pregnant. Fanning found ultrasound pictures of Pederson’s baby, a girl, at the home she shared with her parents.

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