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William Hargrove

Benton County sheriff's deputies escort William Hargrove out of the courtroom Friday morning after he was convicted of murdering his fiancee, Anna Repkina, in April 2017.

After less than three hours of deliberation, a 12-person jury found 30-year-old William Hargrove guilty on Friday of killing his fiancée and pilfering her bank account.

Anna Repkina, a 27-year-old Russian woman who moved in with Hargrove after an online romance, was found killed by a single shotgun blast on a logging road near Alsea on April 17, 2017.

Hargrove was arrested three days later and charged with murder. He was also charged with one count of identity theft and two counts of theft for using Repkina’s bank card to make two withdrawals totaling $800 from her account.

The jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts in Benton County Circuit Court.

Hargrove showed little emotion as Judge Matthew Donohue read the jury’s decision. He was then handcuffed and led back to jail by three Benton County sheriff’s deputies.

A sentencing hearing will be set at a later date.

The mandatory minimum sentence for murder in Oregon is 25 years in prison.

Defense attorney Mike Flinn said his client intends to appeal the verdict and asked the judge to retain all the evidence in the case.

“Obviously, Mr. Hargrove is disappointed by the verdict,” Flinn said after Friday’s hearing. “However, there are issues that need to be addressed by a higher court, and Mr. Hargrove will be appealing.”

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Flinn said those issues could include illegal search and seizure by police. In July, he argued much of the state's evidence was seized through improper search warrants, but Donohue overruled Flinn's motion and allowed the state to present the evidence at trial.

The verdict follows a trial that lasted nearly a month and involved more than 70 witnesses.

The crux of the case was a pair of competing theories about who committed the murder.

Prosecutors argued Hargrove, now 30, killed Repkina to appease his married lover, former Albany resident Michelle Chavez. 

Flinn argued it was Chavez who really killed Repkina out of jealousy over her engagement to Hargrove.

Throughout the case, prosecutors worked to prove Hargrove guilty and to show that the evidence didn't implicate Chavez, who moved to Watertown, New York, after Hargrove's arrest.

Flinn, in his cross-examinations and defense testimony, sought to poke holes in the state's evidence against his client and undermine Chavez's credibility.

Ultimately, the jury concluded Hargrove pulled the trigger and left Repkina's body alongside an isolated road along with various pieces of garbage he tossed from his vehicle.

Donohue said he would work with the parties in the case by email to set a sentencing date. That will allow time for the state to communicate with the victim's family in Russia, so they can offer statements to be used in sentencing or arrange to attend in person.

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