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Tumalo man who shot, killed son on trial

By Mackenzie Wilson
Published On: Oct 24 2012 08:47:31 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 24 2012 09:08:35 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Mackenzie Wilson reports as Jim Hargrave's murder trial for the shooting death of his son begins with opening arguments.

BEND, Ore. -

Painful memories of an argument that turned deadly last December were relived Wednesday morning in Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby's courtroom. Wednesday marked the start of Jim Hargrave's murder trial in the shooting death of his 28-year-old son, Steven Hargrave.

Police say Hargrave. 62, shot his son in the chest after a fight at their home in Tumalo escalated on Dec. 4, 2011.

On Monday afternoon, opening arguments got under way after a jury of 14, including two alternates was chosen.

Within minutes of the testimony getting under way, Hargrave broke down in tears.

Prosecutors played out 911 tape from the deadly night so jurors could hear what Hargrave's wife said to the dispatcher.

The dispatcher was trying to calm Pamela Hargrave down and give her instructions on giving her son CPR, which was unsuccessful.

District Attorney Patrick Flaherty told jurors in his opening statement that Hargrave put a bullet through his son's chest.

"I'm going to ask you to find him guilty of murdering his son, because that's what he did," Flaherty said.

Hargrave's defense attorney, Terry Rahmsdorff, countered in his opening arguments that his client shot his son in self-defense.

Rahmsdorff described Steven Hargrave as a raging alcoholic who pushed his father too far on the fateful night with threats of hurting him and calling him names.

On the night of his death, Steven Hargrave had a blood alcohol level of .38 and traces of opiates in his system, authorities said.

Rhamsdorff asked jurors not for sympathy for Hargrave, but for understanding.

Flaherty asked jurors not to buy the self-defense claim, saying Hargrave hated his son and wanted him dead. The defense says there's no question Hargrave took his son's life, but that doesn't mean he deserves prison time.

One of the first sheriff's deputies on scene the night of the shooting testified Wednesday afternoon.

Deputy Ronald Brown told jurors he and Jim Hargrave made small talk after arriving at the house, and that Hargrave showed no emotion or remorse for killing his son.

The trial is expected to last up to four weeks. Murder in Oregon is a Measure 11 crime, meaning if convicted, Hargrave could get a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years.

The trial picks back up Thursday with more witnesses called by prosecutors.

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