Less than a year after she was found guilty of murdering her mother and her sister in 2017, Megan Hargan’s conviction has been vacated.
“We are disappointed that a juror’s inappropriate actions led to this double murder conviction being vacated. We are still committed to getting justice for the victims of this crime,” Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said in a statement Wednesday.
A juror told a defense team investigator that she tried to determine, by using a rifle she had at home, if it would have been physically possible for one of the victims to shoot herself, which the defense argued is what happened, NBC Washington reported. This amounted to jury misconduct, Megan Hargan’s lawyers said, as jurors are warned against conducting outside research.
“My office will move forward and prepare for the new trial,” Descano said.
Back in March, the West Virginia woman was found guilty of shooting her mother and sister to death in McLean, Virginia, then staging the scene to look like a murder-suicide.
Prosecutors told the jury that Megan Hargan had been upset because her 63-year-old mother, Pamela Hargan, did not make a $400,000 wire transfer to help her buy a home. They also say Megan Hargan was angry with her younger sister Helen because she believed their mother favored Helen.
The bodies of Helen Hargan, 23, and Pamela Hansen Hargan, were found shot to death inside their McLean house in July 2017. Police initially said it appeared Helen Hargan shot her mother and then turned the gun on herself.
Investigators, early on, began to have doubts and determined the crime scene had been staged.