Woman killed mother, sister inside McLean home in 2017, jury finds in retrial

A Fairfax County, Virginia, jury has again found a West Virginia woman guilty of killing her mother and younger sister in 2017, Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced Friday.

Megan Hargan, 40, was convicted of first-degree murder in March 2022, but the conviction was vacated later that year due to juror misconduct.

The double slaying happened the afternoon of July 14, 2017, inside the McLean home of Hargan’s 63-year-old mother, Pamela, where all three were living at the time. Descano’s office said in a news release that Megan shot her younger sister, 24-year-old Helen Hargan, and her mother and staged it to look like a murder-suicide, saying Helen killed their mom before killing herself.

According to evidence presented at the retrial, Megan and her sister Helen were both looking for new houses, and Megan was upset that her mother was helping out Helen financially, but not her.

The day before the killings, Megan tried to transfer nearly $400,000 from her mother’s bank account to help close on a new house, according to the news release.

The transaction was flagged as fraud. The next day, prosecutors said Megan shot her mother with a .22 rifle, and then tried the wire transfer again.

Then, she took the rifle upstairs and shot her sister.

“Pamela and Helen were loved by many, and their deaths in 2017 tore this community apart, with the added shock and horror of being killed in their own home by a family member,” Descano said.

Megan was arrested near her home in Monongalia County, West Virginia, on Nov. 9, 2018 and convicted more than three years later.

During the initial trial, lawyers for Megan argued her younger sister Helen shot herself with the .22 rifle. NBC Washington reported that a juror told a defense team investigator she used her own rifle at home to find out whether that was physically possible, and shared her findings during juror deliberations.

Megan’s lawyers argued that amounts to juror misconduct, since the judge warned jurors not to conduct outside research. Her 2022 conviction was tossed out.

“When the first conviction was vacated, I promised that my office would continue to fight for justice for the Hargan family and for the community,” Descano said. “Today’s guilty verdict has been a long time coming, and I hope [that] Pam and Helen’s loved ones will be able to take one step closer to healing.”

Megan will be sentenced on Jan. 26, 2024, and faces up to life in prison for the two first-degree murder charges.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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