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JUST IN: McLean woman sentenced to life in prison for killing mom and sister

Fairfax County Courthouse (file photo)

A McLean woman will serve two life sentences in prison for murdering her mother and sister in 2017, county prosecutors announced today (Friday).

Megan Hargan received the two life sentences for fatally shooting her mother, Pamela Hargan, 63, and Helen Hargan, 24, in their house on July 14, 2017. She also got an additional sentence of six years in prison for two gun-related charges, according to the Fairfax County Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Hargan was convicted by a jury in September of first-degree murder and use of a firearm in a felony. It was her second conviction after an initial one handed down in March 2022 got vacated by a judge who determined that a juror had improperly experimented with a rifle at home to see if Helen Hargan could’ve died by suicide, as defense attorneys alleged.

“Megan Hargan’s actions in July 2017 go beyond what most of us can imagine,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said. “On a quiet Friday 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 today’s sentence reflects the gravity of the defendant’s crimes.”

After finding the bodies of Pamela and Helen Hargan inside their home in the 6700 block of Dean Drive, the Fairfax County Police Department initially characterized the deaths as a murder-suicide incident, but they suspected early on that the scene might have been staged.

Police and prosecutors later argued that Megan Hargan had killed her mother and sister over a financial disagreement.

More from the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney:

On the afternoon of July 14, 2017, Megan Hargan, 41, shot Pamela, 63, and Helen, 24, in Pamela’s McLean home where the three were living at the time, along with Hargan’s then-8-year-old daughter. Hargan staged the house as a murder-suicide and claimed that younger sister Helen had killed their mom before killing herself.

Evidence presented at trial showed that the conflict stemmed from a financial dispute: Megan, who was buying a house in West Virginia, resented that her mother, Pamela, wasn’t helping her financially but was at the same time helping her sister Helen to buy a house. On July 13, the day before the killings, Megan attempted to transfer upwards of $400,000 from her mother’s bank account to pay for Megan’s new house, which was closing that day. The transaction was flagged as fraud, and the next day Megan shot her mother before attempting to make the same wire transfer again from her mother’s account. She then shot her sister Helen, who was upstairs at the time. Both family members were killed by a .22 rifle, which belonged to Megan’s husband and was being stored in the McLean house temporarily.

Megan Hargan was arrested on Nov. 9, 2018.

“This was a complicated case to prosecute, and we would not be here today without the detectives, witnesses, and family members who persisted through two lengthy, emotional trials,” Descano said. “I want to express my gratitude for their resolve in bringing this case to justice.”

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