OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – After less than three hours of deliberation, a jury found Robert Hashagen III guilty of killing his 94-year-old neighbor while burglarizing her home.
“Defendant is guilty of the crime of murder in the first degree in the commission of burglary in the first degree and set punishment at life with parole,” said Judge Tim Henderson Tuesday just after 3 p.m.
That was the lesser charge the jury could choose, rather than murder in the first degree with malice of forethought.
For a week, Hashagen has stood trial for the 2013 murder of Evelyn Goodall. She was severely beaten in her home. She died two days later in the hospital from blunt force trauma.
The verdict was met with tears by both Hashagen’s family and by those hoping he would be put in jail for the crime.
On Tuesday, the state took a final chance to lay out its evidence, saying Hashagen broke into Goodall’s home to steal from her, and that he tied her up with a specific type of duct tape that he had access to through his former employer. They said he pulled out her hair in the same manner as his ex-romantic partners alleged he did to them, and that his DNA was found at the crime scene.
“Frankly we maintain our innocence today,” said Curtis Clay, one of Hashagen’s defense attorneys.
Clay fired back at prosecutors statements, saying the allegations by past partners should never had been introduced, and that it unfairly hurt his character in front of the jury.
“My client had acknowledged that he had made those mistakes in the interview himself,” Clay said.
He also argued that the duct tape used on her could have been purchased by anyone, and that the DNA evidence simply was not as strong as the state presented it to be.
“These types of DNA cold cases or DNA cases are always rife with the potential for wrongful convictions,” Clay said.
As he was walked away in handcuffs, Hashagen told KFOR that he is “not guilty,” repeating the denial he has maintained throughout the investigation.
He also said he intends to appeal the decision.
His formal sentencing is scheduled for March 4.