Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Hargraves misconduct trial enters 7th day

 

September 19, 2019



As the Gazette was going to press Wednesday morning, the trial of Sgt. Dan Hargraves started its seventh day with Hargraves testifying in his own defense before a jury of nine women and three men.

Defense attorney Roger Sandberg began a line of questions as Hargraves related his account of the events which led to the charge being filed against him and his eventual resignation from the Pullman Police Department.

Hargraves was charged with sexual misconduct with a WSU freshman the night of March 30-31, 2018, after he took her into custody. The state alleges Hargraves coerced the alleged victim in an act of oral sex.

State's case against Hargraves alleges the victim's cell phone indicated the victim was in the area of Reaney Park.

The state investigation report said Hargraves had two contacts with the alleged victim that night. The first time he ordered her to go to her room in Duncan Dunn dormitory where she resided.

Then the woman left the dorm and was contacted by WSU Sgt. Mattthew Kuhrt who also ordered her to go back to her room.

Hargraves was alleged to have observed the victim a second time and chided her­ for failing to obey orders to stay in her room. He told her he would have to take her to the police station, but according to the state he coerced her into the sex act.

Tuesday, Prosecutor Denis Tracy called Ethan Smith, a forensic analyst for the Washington State Patrol laboratory in Cheney, to testify on results of tests on articles of clothing worn by the alleged victim.

Smith's testimony began with a long illustrative talk on the processes he uses to search for samples to test for evidence and make DNA comparisons.

He testified he conducted tests on the four items of evidence which were sent to the Cheney laboratory and introduced at the trial last week in sealed packages.

The three items were clothing worn by the alleged victim on that night and the other fourth sealed item was swabs of saliva samples taken from Hargraves.

Smith testified a sperm head was found in a sample taken from one sleeve of a body suit which had been worn by the alleged victim that night. He testified the analysis tests of the sperm head and the swabs matched in a degree of certainty so that the chance of it coming from another person was in the multi octrillon range.

Defense Attorney Roger Sandberg began cross examination by asking Smith to tell the estimated population of the earth which is in the billions.

After the state rested its case Tuesday, Sandberg called Greg Hampkian, a professor in the biological sciences department of Boise State University. He said he believed the sample used in the tests done by Smith was too small to get a valid DNA analysis.

During Friday's session, jurors heard a WSU student testify she had loaned the body suit to the alleged victim to wear that night. Questioned about whether the suit had been cleaned before he loaned it to the victim she said she believed it was because her laundry day preceded the Friday night outing.

Another WSU student, who said he was a friend of the alleged victim testified she had been at a fraternity party earlier the night and confirmed he was unsuccessful in his attempts to contact her later.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins, who also testified Friday, was called back Tuesday by Tracy as the first witness.

The chief said Hargraves full name is Jerry Daniel Hargraves, but he opted to use Dan as his first name while serving with the department. He also said Hargraves was the sergeant in charge for the graveyard shift in the night of the alleged crime.

Superior Court Judge Gary Libey advised the jury at the start of Friday's session that Tracy planned to finish calling witnesses for the state's case that day. He added Hampkian would not be available as a defense witness until Tuesday and said juror would not have to report Monday.

Pullman officers Wade Winegardner and Paul Emerson were the first witnesses on the stand Friday. Both officers worked on the same graveyard shift on that night with Sgt. Hargraves.

Both testified on their response to a report of a possibly suicidal person in the Reaney Park area.

Winegardner also responded to a reported fight during which his body camera recorded background pictures of Duncan Dunn resident hall where the alleged victim resided.

Sandberg asked Winegardner to ascertain his body cam videos that showed segments of Duncan Dunn, and the officer said it did not see any Pullman Police vehicle in the surveillance recording he made at that time.

Officer Emerson testified on body camera recordings which showed him transporting the person, who was incorrectly reported to be contemplating suicide. The person was found sitting on a bridge.

When Emerson transported the person to his home via downtown streets in Pullman his body cam recorded another police vehicle in the same area. Emerson said he could not identify the police vehicle because his camera blocked his vision.

Last Thursday afternoon Tracy called three witnesses who testified on how evidence was packaged, delivered and monitored at the WSP laboratory at Cheney. The lab serves a seven-county area.

Washington State Patrol Detective Larry McGill testified he packaged and sealed three items of the victim's clothing in separate packages and also packaged mouth swabs taken from Hargraves and submitted them for analysis at the crime lab.

McGill is the WSP investigating officer on the case and was seated next to Tracy during the trial.

Tracy introduced the four packets to the jury at that time, but he did not submit them as exhibits until near the end of the state's case when Smith testified on his DNA identification Tuesday.

WSU Police Sgt. Matt Kuhurt testified Thursday morning how he met up with Hargraves on the night in question, and Hargraves notified him he had given the alleged victim a courtesy ride back to her dormitory after he stopped her when she appeared to be intoxicated.

Kuhurt also had contact with the alleged victim between the two times Hargraves allegedly contacted her. He said he instructed her to go to her dorm room.

Kuhurt said he and Hargraves conversed after Kuhurt had made a similar police response to another female student who was walking in the area and appeared intoxicated.

Questioned by Tracy, Kuhurt explained the procedure for notifying dispatchers when a female is transported in a squad car. Officers provide start and end times and the mileage covered in the transport.

Kuhurt testified on where surveillance cameras were located on buildings at that time and the areas designated for campus police coverage and Pullman Police coverage.

The alleged victim testified Wednesday. Now 20, on encounters with Hargraves and Kuhurt, and told how she told Hargraves she would "do anything" to avoid being taken into custody.

She said she recalled being taken to a dark place and being asked to get down on her knees, but she said she didn't recall the actual sex act.

She testified she requested Hargraves to drive her back to a friend's residence at Roger Hall.

She said she identified Hargraves from a police department web site, and she identified him in court.

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