James Hargrave of Tumalo was sentenced Friday to a mandatory life sentence with a 25-year minimum for murdering his son Steven Hargrave nearly one year ago.
The sentence handed down from Circuit Judge Ashby Wells follows a guilty verdict at a trial that ended last week. A jury convicted Hargrave of murdering his 29-year-old son, Steven Hargrave, with a single pistol shot to the chest in December 2011.
Hargrave, 63, opted not to make a statement at the hearing Friday. Family members, though, spoke words of encouragement aimed at Hargrave.
Pamela Hargrave, his wife and the victim’s mother, said her husband didn’t deserve the sentence, given the case’s circumstances.
“He’s going to suffer with it the rest of his life," she said in a brief, tearful statement in court. When Wells asked if she had anything else to add, Hargrave said: “Just that I love my husband."
Hargrave’s other son, Kenneth Hargrave, told his father he loved him.
In his sentencing, Wells noted that Hargrave’s actions deprived everyone of Steven Hargrave’s companionship.
“You took the life of your son," Wells said.
Hargrave showed little emotion as the sentence was handed down.
At the trial, Hargrave’s defense attorneys, Terry Rahmsdorff and Karla Nash, argued that the father shot his son in self-defense. They elicited testimony at trial that Steven Hargrave acting in an abusive and threatening manner when under the influence of alcohol.
James Hargrave had testified he was fearful and worried he would be beaten up when Steven confronted him in the Hargraves’ bedroom.
But at trial Deschutes County District Attorney Patrick Flaherty argued Hargrave never mentioned acting in self-defense when sheriff’s deputies and detectives questioned him after the Dec. 4, 2011, shooting. Hargrave had options short of killing his son, Flaherty told jurors.
The DA sought the mandatory sentence. Flaherty did not return a call seeking comment Friday.
After the hearing, Kenneth Hargrave said he was saddened by the situation and that the family will fight to free him. Pamela Hargrave wept as her husband was led away in restraints.
“Stay strong," she said.