New filings made this week in the prosecution of a man for the 2017 murder of a Russian woman along a rural logging road near Alsea reveal new details of his defense strategy.
William Chase Hargrove, 29, is facing murder and other charges in the April 2017 death of Anna Repkina, whose body was found along a logging road after she had been shot in the head. Prosecutors have said Hargrove killed Repkina to resolve a “problematic love triangle” that also involved Hargrove’s married lover, Michelle Chavez.
Chavez, according to affidavits filed by investigators, told police she gave Hargrove an ultimatum on the night before police believe Repkina was killed, telling him he needed to “get rid of her.”
But a defense filing made Tuesday reveals that Hargrove’s attorneys plan to argue Chavez was more directly connected to the murder.
“The state’s theory of the case is that defendant murdered Ms. Repkina because Ms. Chavez gave defendant an ultimatum: either he choose Ms. Chavez or Ms. Repkina. Defendant rejects that theory and believes the evidence shows that Ms. Chavez is involved in Ms. Repkina’s murder,” wrote Mike Flinn, Hargrove’s attorney.
Ryan Joslin, chief deputy district attorney for Benton County, said Chavez has not been charged with a crime in connection with Repkina's death.
"Given the facts known to the state at this time, the state has no basis for pursuing such charges. Currently, she is subpoenaed to testify as a witness for the state," he said by email.
Chavez declined to comment on the case when called.
Flinn's filing sought a court order to compel Chavez to appear at the trial, which is scheduled to run from Oct. 24 to Nov. 26, and requested that the court authorize state funds to pay for her travel expenses.
"She is an essential witness to defendant’s case," Flinn wrote in his filing.
Since Hargrove’s arrest, Chavez has moved to Watertown, New York, Flinn said in his filing.
Benton County Circuit Court Judge Matt Donohue issued an order Wednesday authorizing the state to pay for Chavez’s travel expenses and requesting that a New York judge compel Chavez to travel to Oregon for the trial. In his order, Donohue notes Chavez would testify Nov. 12-15.
Flinn told the Gazette-Times by email that the process was needed to compel an out-of-state witness to testify:
"In order to have a proper, legal subpoena served on someone out of state, I need to have a judge sign a certificate. Then I send the paperwork to the other state for a judge there to review and approve. Then the subpoena is served by that other state on the witness, thus giving a court contempt power over the witness if they don’t show up for trial," he said by email.
Flinn’s filing requesting the subpoena also includes a new account of Hargrove’s relationship with Repkina. Flinn wrote that Repkina and Hargrove were engaged at the time of her death and had become romantically involved in the second half of 2016.
“When Ms. Chavez became aware of their relationship, she became extremely jealous,” he wrote.
Flinn also said in the filing that Hargrove was attempting to break things off with Chavez.
It's not clear exactly when and where he and Repkina met. However, when they identified Repkina, Benton County Sheriff’s Office officials said that customs records show she entered the United States on March 1, 2017, with a Russian passport.
The next major events in the case are a July 25 hearing on whether some information gathered from Hargrove’s cell phone is admissible at trial and a Sept. 9 hearing on whether detectives violated Hargrove's Miranda rights when they interviewed him before his arrest.