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Woman Driven by Jealousy to Kill Sister and Mom, Then Stage Scene as Murder-Suicide, Receives Sentence

Megan Hargan was once again found guilty of killing her mother, Pamela, and sister, Helen

A Virginia woman twice convicted of killing her mother and sister in and staging it to look like a murder-suicide in 2017 was sentenced to life in prison Friday, the Fairfax County Commonwealth Attorney announced.

Megan Hargan, 41, who was granted a new trial in 2022 as a result of juror misconduct, was convicted of two counts of murder for a second time in September, six years after her mother and sister were killed.

On July 14, 2017, Pamela, 63, and Helen Hargan, 24, were shot and killed inside the upscale McLean home where they lived with Megan and her 8-year-old daughter. Prosecutors have said Megan shot her family members and set it up to make it seem like Helen, a recent graduate from Southern Methodist University, had shot her mother before turning the gun on herself.

Related: Woman Found Guilty of Murdering Her Mom, Sister and Staging it as Murder-Suicide Will Get New Trial

Fairfax County Police
Fairfax County Police

Prosecutors say jealousy was the motive behind the murders. Megan had been buying a house in West Virginia at the time, and was resentful that Pamela, a successful defense contractor executive, was helping Helen buy a house and not her, Commonwealth attorney Steve Descano says in a release.

The day before the murders, prosecutors say Megan attempted to transfer $400,000 to her bank account from her mother’s, but the transaction was flagged as fraudulent. After allegedly shooting Pamela, Megan tried to make the same transfer again, before going upstairs and shooting Helen, according to the Commonwealth attorney.

“Megan Hargan’s actions in July 2017 go beyond what most of us can imagine,” Descano says in a statement. “On a quiet morning in her mother’s home, she made an irreversible decision — one that would devastate her family and tear the community apart. First-degree murder is the most serious offense you can be convicted of in Virginia, and [Friday’s] sentence reflects the gravity of the defendant’s crimes.”

Related: Victim Blamed For Murder-Suicide Allegedly Staged by Her Rival Sister: 'She Didn't Deserve This'

For the two first-degree murder charges, Megan was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, and received an additional six years for gun charges.

Megan was first convicted of the crimes in November 2022, but she received a new trial after a judge ruled that a juror had acted improperly.

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According to a report from NBC Washington, the juror told a defense team investigator that during the trial, she went home and tested a defense theory that Helen had used her toe to fatally shoot herself with a .22 rifle. The juror determined it was not possible and then shared her findings with the rest of the original jury, which voted unanimously to convict Megan.

But Megan’s attorneys successfully argued at the time that reenacting the events constituted juror misconduct because the jury had been instructed not to conduct outside research, NBC reported.

Even after Megan’s first conviction was vacated, prosecutors immediately said they intended to retry her, leading to the second guilty verdict in 2023.

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