Loyalhanna triple-murder case gets April trial date
An April trial date has been scheduled in the death penalty case of an Indiana County man accused of murdering three of his family members.
Judge Al Bell met Thursday morning with attorneys and defendant Kevin Murphy, 51, of Conemaugh Township for a status conference after Bell was assigned the case.
“This case is two years old. These things shouldn't linger,” Bell said.
Murphy allegedly shot his mother, Doris Murphy, 69; his sister, Kris L. Murphy, 43; and his aunt, Edith C. Tietge, 81, in the garage of Ferguson Glass LLC in Loyalhanna Township on April 23, 2009.
Judge John Blahovec had presided over the case since charges were filed a year after the killings.
But Blahovec recused himself last month, citing a conflict of interest. Blahovec's secretary is involved in another case that District Attorney John Peck is handling. Police in West Virginia seized her computer because it allegedly contains information from her nephew, who is awaiting trial with his wife for the killing of her father.
In that case, Peck defended the enforcement of the search warrant sought by West Virginia police.
Peck and an assistant in his office are prosecuting the Murphy case.
In October, Blahovec denied a series of pretrial motions in which the defense unsuccessfully sought to have evidence excluded from trial. On Thursday, Bell ordered that a defense ballistics expert provide a report to prosecutors within 30 days of examining the murder weapon.
The victims were shot in the head with a .22-caliber gun, according to investigators.
Doris Murphy was shot three times, and her daughter was shot twice. Tietge died from a single bullet wound.
The prosecution has suggested that Murphy killed the three women because they disapproved of his relationship with a married woman, who told him to “knock off” his family, according to testimony during a preliminary hearing.
The woman has not been charged.
If Murphy is convicted of first-degree homicide, prosecutors will ask a jury to sentence him to death.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Five questions facing Steelers entering training camp
- Steelers cut linebacker Kion Wilson, sign cornerback Toler
- North Huntingdon woman charged with threatening to burn down officer’s house
- Pirates’ Melancon has been consistent since moving into closer’s role
- Aliquippa father is charged by Beaver County DA in girls’ dresser death
- Well-traveled Clemons trying to find home with Carolina Panthers
- Baby girl dies when run over by pickup truck in Indiana County
- Friday’s scouting report: Pirates at Rockies
- New workout craze Piloxing combines mix of disciplines
- Fire damages Derry house
- Israel hits 30 Gaza homes, kills senior militant