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Tumalo man gets life for fatally shooting son

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Nov 16 2012 01:14:31 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 17 2012 07:31:32 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin was in the courtroom Friday as a judge sentenced James Hargrave to life in prison for the shooting death of his son.

BEND, Ore. -

Convicted of fatally shooting his son, Jim Hargrave was sentenced to life in prison with a chance of parole in 25 years during an emotional hearing in a Deschutes County courtroom Friday morning.

Hargrave, 63, was convicted of murder by a jury a week ago in the shooting death of his son Steven, 29, last December in their Tumalo home. Hargrave claimed it was done in self-defense.

Hargrave appeared to be  fighting back tears as the sentence was handed down.

"He's very sad about what happened," said Hargrave's oldest son, Kenneth. "He cries about it every day."

Kenneth and Hargrave's wife, Pamela, broke down in tears when they had a chance to address the courtroom. They told Jim they loved him and they would not stop fighting for him.

"We all know what's happened," Pamela said, addressing the courtroom. "Anyone who has never lived around an alcoholic, or someone who is mental and violent like that, would never know."

Jim Hargrave declined to speak, when Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby asked him if he would like to say anything.

Ashby said the case was a very troubling one for the jury to weigh  and the family to watch unfold.

"This is a very tragic case, and I think you know that," Ashby told Hargrave. "I think it's tragic, for several reasons. You took the life of your son, and you've really taken the companionship away from your son Kenneth and your wife."

It's another successful case for District Attorney Patrick Flaherty, who said he never believed Hargrave was afraid of his son, as he claimed.

"The word 'tragedy' has been used frequently, and every murder is tragic," Flaherty said. "But this one is particularly disturbing and distressing, because you have a father who murdered his son."

As the family says they look to the next step, an appeal, Flaherty said he does not believe the verdict will be overturned.

"Every murder case is appealed, as you know, but there are no appeal issues in this case we have any concern about, whatsoever," said Flaherty.

Although they can't bring back Steven, Pamela and Kenneth say losing Jim Hargrave splits the family even further.

"We do miss Steve a lot," Kenneth said. "And us as a whole, we feel like one big piece is empty."

The attorneys comforted the family as Hargrave gave them one last fleeting look as he was taken away. When he was led out of the courtroom, Pamela yelled, "Stay strong!" And a sobbing sound was heard as the door shut.

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