Oregon man gets life for killing adult son

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A 62-year-old Central Oregon man who fatally shot his drunken adult son after an argument was sentenced Friday to life in prison.

Jim Hargrave will get a chance for parole in 25 years, but he's already frail from a stroke and other ailments. As he was led from the courtroom, his wife, Pamela, yelled, "stay strong." And a sobbing sound was heard as the door shut, KTVZ-TV reported.

A jury last week convicted Hargrave of killing his 29-year-old son, Steven, in December.

According to trial testimony, Hargrave fired the shot after the two began arguing in their Tumalo home. Steven Hargrave, who at the time of his death had a 0.38 blood-alcohol level as well as traces of drugs in his system, threatened to attack his father, who told him to come over and try.

When the son approached, Jim Hargrave shot him in the chest.

Hargrave and his attorneys argued that the shot was fired in self-defense. Prosecutors said Hargrave acted in anger after growing tired of his son's abuse.

Hargrave declined to speak when given the chance by Judge Wells Ashby, who imposed the mandatory sentence. His wife, however, did address the courtroom.

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

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

"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."

District Attorney Patrick Flaherty said he never believed Hargrave was afraid of his son.

"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."