It took Hargrove some time to reach the point of acceptance, however.
On the morning of Feb. 9, 2008, 18-year-old Allyson Pederson and her mother and stepfather, Sharon and Andrew Hartley, were beaten and stabbed to death. The body of the pregnant teen was found set on fire near the Lock and Dam. The Hartleys were found in the master bedroom of their Bennock Mill Road home. The calls that sent officers to both scenes came within an hour of each other about noon on that Saturday.
Just after 6 p.m., Hargrove was in custody at the sheriff’s department.
Investigator Tom Johnson, lead investigator on the case, started Hargrove’s questioning. Hargrove initially denied knowing anything, Johnson said. Then Hargrove tried to throw his friend Devon Jackson under the bus, claiming the bloody clothes and butcher knife found at Hargrove’s home were brought there by Jackson, the investigator testified.
Confronted with inconsistencies in his story, Hargrove insisted everyone else was lying. He asked to speak to his wife and after conferring with the supervising investigator on the case, then-Sgt. Roundtree, Hargrove was allowed to speak to his wife for a few minutes.
Roundtree then restarted the interview, he testified.
“OK I was there,” Hargrove told him. He told Roundtree that he went with Jackson to the Hartley home where Jackson and Pederson went into a bedroom, then he heard screaming and fighting and the sound of blood splattering on the walls. Hargrove said Pederson broke free and ran into the living room, where he caught her and put her in his car, Roundtree testified.
Hargrove said he and Jackson took her to the Lock and Dam, where Jackson stabbed her. They talked about returning to set the body on fire, Roundtree quoted Hargrove as saying.
Roundtree stopped the interview, telling Hargrove he was lying, Roundtree testified. He had been surprised about how detailed the lie was – the specifics of the sound of blood hitting the wall and the talk of burning the body, Roundtree said.
Hargrove stopped the story. He said he knew he would spend the rest of his life in prison, Roundtree testified. Hargrove said the details were too painful to talk about but that he took full responsibility, Roundtree testified. Hargrove said he might talk more later but he never did.
If the Richmond County Superior Court jury hearing the case this week finds Hargrove guilty of murder, the trial will enter a second phase, in which the jury will be asked to set punishment at life in prison with or without the possibility of parole or death.