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Final witness called in capital murder trial

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 7:56 PM
Last updated 8:50 PM
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Adrian Hargrove’s scores on a personality test to determine mental illness indicated he was not being truthful a prosecution expert witness testified Wednesday.

“He faked it,” said Michael Vitacco, a Georgia Regents University associate professor who runs the medical school’s forensic psychology fellowship.

After the defense rested its case Wednesday morning in Richmond County Superior Court, the prosecution called Vitacco as a rebuttal witness.

Vitacco was expected to be the final witness in the guilt-innocence phase of the trial. Closing arguments are set to begin at 1:30 p.m. today.

Hargrove’s defense team called several mental health experts who told the jury that Hargrove, 36, was intellectually disabled and mentally ill to the extent he meets the legal definition of “guilty but mentally ill” and “guilty but mentally retarded”.

The distinction may be crucial in the capital murder trial. If the jury returns a verdict of guilty, or guilty but mentally ill, the trial continues into a second phase in which the jury is asked to determine punishment for murder – life in prison with or without the possibility of parole or death.

If the jury finds Hargrove guilty, but mentally retarded, there won’t be a second phase to the trial because an intellectually disabled person cannot be subjected to a sentence of death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

District Attorney Ashley Wright filed notice of her intention to seek a death sentence not long after Hargrove was indicted on multiple charges in the Feb. 9, 2008, killings of 18-year-old Allyson Pederson and her parents Sharon and Andrew Hartley.

Vitacco was the last of the mental health experts who examined Hargrove. Vitacco testified he was suspicious of Hargrove’s account of hallucinations because he had never seen or heard of a patient who experienced hallucinations of all five senses at the same time – seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling things that were not there. And Hargrove’s report that he saw horned beasts, devils, is actually a sign offaking, the psychologist testified.

Hargrove’s actions after the killings also didn’t fit with how a person in psychosis would behave, Vitacco testified. Hargrove tried to evade arrest by ditching evidence, and, once arrested, he blamed the killings on someone else.

But it wasn’t impossible that Hargrove was suffering from psychosis or organic brain damage, Vitacco testified. That’s why he had Hargrove take the personality test.

Hargrove’s scores were so high the computer program that calculated the results warned they could not be trusted, he testified. Hargrove reported experiencing symptoms of every possible mental illness.

Under cross examination, Vitacco agreed Hargrove did have impaired adaptive function – a crucial point of the legal finding of intellectually disabled – but Vitacco testified in his opinion, Hargrove’s skills were not so low as to qualify for the legal definition.

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Pops
8355
Points
Pops 03/19/14 - 08:30 pm
8
2
I hope the jury can see through this song and dance

"Hargrove’s actions after the killings also didn’t fit with how a person in psychosis would behave, Vitacco testified. Hargrove tried to evade arrest by ditching evidence, and, once arrested, he blamed the killings on someone else."

He's obviously a con artist who has manipulated people all his life. After all, he hooked up with an 18 year old when he was 30 and a married "man". Please do the right thing................

GiantsAllDay
9582
Points
GiantsAllDay 03/19/14 - 11:02 pm
4
7
so guilty but mentally ill

so guilty but mentally ill still gets you the death penalty?? What kind of place is Georgia anyway? Please make a list of all the countries on this earth that has the death penalty. I'm sure Jesus would agree with the death penalty.
http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_24758356/state-death-penalty-2013

KSL
129324
Points
KSL 03/20/14 - 02:02 am
4
3
If he is smart enough to fake

If he is smart enough to fake a test, do away with him ASAP. He is evil and unfixable.

KSL
129324
Points
KSL 03/20/14 - 02:06 am
4
3
Bullets can be bought for

Bullets can be bought for about $.50 apiece. And no more of this 20 years on death row.

KSL
129324
Points
KSL 03/20/14 - 02:16 am
2
3
places that has?

places that has?

iaaffg
2214
Points
iaaffg 03/20/14 - 05:12 am
7
2
this guy is a con. his

this guy is a con. his lawyers are skilled in conning. of course they're gonna say he's intellectually challenged and mentally ill.....duh! the question is: will the jury fall for the con?

jimmymac
39556
Points
jimmymac 03/20/14 - 08:02 am
0
0
JURIES
Unpublished

Unfortunately many people sitting on juries are easily swayed by false testimony. This guy is obviously a skilled liar and was schooled on how to make sure his test results would open the door for a lighter or no sentence. He's a feral animal and should be put down.

corgimom
32266
Points
corgimom 03/20/14 - 08:28 am
6
2
GAD, I don't think you, or

GAD, I don't think you, or anybody else, knows how Jesus feels about the death penalty.

There are people on this Earth that are so evil, so sick, that commit such horrific crimes that yes, they deserve to be executed.

KSL
129324
Points
KSL 03/20/14 - 08:32 am
2
3
I have no doubt that he has

I have no doubt that he has "issues." He killed 3 people. But for that reason, he does not get a pass.

KSL
129324
Points
KSL 03/20/14 - 08:35 am
2
3
corgi

You have got that exactly right.

nocnoc
42500
Points
nocnoc 03/20/14 - 09:07 am
3
2
We have the State Witness name

How about doing the same for the defense's?

Would like to run, Google / Web Crawler their names against Anti-Death Penalty causes and types members and supporters.

Just to see if there is some bias.

Little Lamb
45904
Points
Little Lamb 03/20/14 - 09:32 am
2
4
Testing

You mean they make the defendant take a personality test to determine whether he's mentally ill? And then, if he doesn't make the grade the tester thinks he should, the prosecution challenges his grade?

Criminal justice is out of control. It is not justice anymore, but it is criminal.

Little Lamb
45904
Points
Little Lamb 03/20/14 - 09:34 am
2
2
Fair Test

The next thing you know, the defense will present evidence that the test is culturally biased, and the defendant gets off scot free.

Little Lamb
45904
Points
Little Lamb 03/20/14 - 09:40 am
4
2
Public Service

I never knew the origin of the term "scot free" until I looked it up a moment ago:

In medieval England the scot was a tax levied on the members of a village or town which all the inhabitants had to pay in proportion to the size of their property or the extent of their land. Some people avoided the scot, however, often because their houses were built in unfavourable places such as hills with no water or places prone to flooding. Such people were described as scot free and the term has now come to describe anyone who avoids a punishment or financial penalty that they would normally have to serve or pay.

The above explanation came from the onestopenglish.com web site.

myfather15
55706
Points
myfather15 03/20/14 - 10:03 am
3
2
He is a danger to the

He is a danger to the public!! He is a danger to ANYONE he comes into contact with, period!! Including medical personel, prison staff and other inmates!! There is absolutely no reason to keep him alive!! He brutally murdered three people!! What else do we need to prove he is a danger?

nocnoc
42500
Points
nocnoc 03/20/14 - 10:14 am
2
1
Happy to donate ammo for any 100% sure Murder conviction.

Any person caught red handed should be enough to convict and dispatch. But not in America it seems.

Maybe we need to handle it like they use to in Russia. I saw this on PBS NOVA back the 1990's.

The convicted murder was required every morning to
stand with his/her back and head next the cell door.

The jailer opened the access window to inspect every morning. The Murderer does not if it is the day or not.

Once the order comes down to dispatch the murder, the same process just a bullet and some Mopping.

BTW:
The murderers were mostly shot by a single pistol shot to the back of the head or neck. Quick and privately handled.

Personally I like the idea of bringing back public hangings in the Town sq.

and requiring 1st offenders to watch the person dance.

whyme
1799
Points
whyme 03/20/14 - 01:07 pm
1
0
clarification

Just to be clear for the person questioning a personality test...not sure if that was the proper terminology, but there is a standard battery of psychological tests that are used to determine, to the best of one's ability, a person's psychiatric and intellectual status as well as tests to address any personality disorders (not whether they are a nice guy or have a "good personality"). They are pretty clinical, have been around for ages, and are designed in such a way as to minimize error and misinterpretation by the adminstrator of the test. When the results of one test may contrast against a person's presentation, such as what appears here, follow-up testing of another sort is reasonable. Seems like that is what happens, and Dr. Vitacco presented his findings in layman's terms, it appears.I'm sure the results of the testing were made available to both sides of the case, and the prosecution was the one to apply them, understandably.

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 03/20/14 - 05:04 pm
0
0
It's too bad
Unpublished

that hargrove isn't a white man. There'd be no question on the table as to intelligence or family history. He'd be convicted and sentenced, accordingly. Death do us part, thug.

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