2008-02-13 / Front Page

Sex offender arrested for triple murder

By Elizabeth Billips lizbillips@yahoo.com

Adrian Hargrove Adrian Hargrove A Burke County sex offender has been arrested for murdering three people, including a pregnant teenager believed to be carrying his child.

Adrian Hargrove, 30, was apprehended in Augusta Saturday just seven hours after his estranged wife relayed her fears to police.

"She said he showed up at her house covered in blood and making statements about having just killed three people," said Lt. Scott Peebles, a violent crimes investigator for the Richmond County's Sheriff's Office.

It didn't take long for officers to find his first two alleged victims.

Working on tips from Hargrove's wife, they soon discovered Andrew and Sharon Hartley, 45 and 46, dead inside their home on Bennock Mill Road. Both had been stabbed numerous times.

While officers searched for Hargrove, a report of smoke near the Lock and Dam led to the third victim - Mrs. Hartley's 18-year-old daughter, Allyson Pederson. Her body had been dumped and was burning when firefighters arrived.

Lt. Peebles said Pederson's family members have indicated that she was five months pregnant with Hargrove's child, but that information remains unconfirmed.

Officers haven't said how the teenager died but feel certain she was not killed along with her parents inside their home.

Specific information about the second possible murder scene will remain undisclosed for now, Lt. Peebles said.

Several hours after the bodies were found, Augusta resident Lawanda Haskell, 36, was arrested for helping Hargrove hide from police. "We determined conclusively that she was not only giving us false information about her involvement but about Hargrove's whereabouts," Lt. Peebles said, adding that her relationship with Hargrove is unclear.

In addition to making false statements, she reportedly drove Hargrove to the Lock and Dam so that he could burn Pederson's body, which had been dumped there earlier that day.

Hargrove was taken into custody later that day when officers found him in a wooded area off Richmond Hill Road.

"He was hiding in the woods - waiting, most likely, for (Haskell) to pick him up," Lt. Peebles said.

In addition to murder charges, Hargrove will probably be charged with feticide for the death of Pederson's unborn child.

While Hargrove was initially believed to be an Augusta resident, officers say he was apparently going back and forth between his mother's residence on Highway 23 in Burke County and his estranged wife's home in Augusta.

He's been on Burke County's sex offender registry since his release from prison in 2006, and his mother verified his residency two months ago when deputies made a home visit, according to Sgt. Annette Hodge of the Burke County Sheriff's Office.

Hargrove moved to Waynesboro after serving a seven-year prison sentence for child cruelty and cocaine convictions in North Georgia.

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