Witness: Murphy asked neighbor to find gun before 3 murders
Kevin Murphy was looking for a way to end the discord among his mother, sister and his married girlfriend, so he looked to a neighbor for help, a witness testified Thursday.
Just days before Murphy's mother, sister and aunt were fatally shot in the Loyalhanna Township business he owned, he lamented about his domestic situation.
Charles Modrey told a Westmoreland County jury that Murphy wanted help to end the stress over his relationship with Susan McGuire.
“He talked about how his mother and sister didn't care for his relationship with Susan. They weren't very happy with his relationship, being she was married,” Modrey testified.
“He asked if I knew anyone who could get rid of the problem,” Modrey told jurors.
Just days later, Murphy's mother, 69-year-old Doris; his 43-year-old sister, Kris; and his 81-year-old aunt, Edith Tietge, were gunned down in the garage area of Ferguson Glass.
Kevin Murphy, 52, of Conemaugh Township in Indiana County, is on trial on three charges of first-degree murder in the April 23, 2009, deaths. District Attorney John Peck is seeking the death penalty.
Murphy killed his relatives after receiving an ultimatum from his soon-to-be divorced girlfriend so they could live together, according to prosecutors. McGuire is now living with another man in the home Murphy once shared with his mother and sister, according to testimony.
Modrey and another neighbor, John Scott Krivasy, testified about Murphy's actions in the days leading up to the murders.
Krivasy told jurors that several weeks before the killing, Murphy asked Krivasy to find a gun. Murphy gave no explanation about why he needed a weapon. “He was vague. He said he just wanted to get one,” Krivasy testified.
Krivasy said he met with Murphy and McGuire three days after the shooting at Murphy's home. Krivasy said Murphy seemed upset and he said that his house was “wiretapped or bugged.”
A Ferguson Glass employee, Donald Shondelmyer, who had been a friend of Murphy's since childhood, previously testified that he has taken over the operations of the business and has moved into the Murphy home with McGuire.
The defense has maintained that Murphy was not the shooter, although it has yet to identify another suspect.
The prosecution on Thursday laid out physical evidence that linked Murphy to the crime scene.
Murphy left one fingerprint on a gun manual found in a plastic container where the defendant claimed he stored a .22-caliber Magnum revolver. He told police he had used it on the day of the murders to shoot at a nesting robin in the woods behind his shop.
Police believe that gun was also used to kill at least two of the women.
Jeff Fumea, a DNA analyst for state police, testified that Murphy's genetic material was found on the gun.
But DNA from another unidentified person was also found on the gun, Fumea testified.
Defense attorney Robert Bell asked Fumea whether Murphy's DNA would be on the gun if he picked up the weapon, carried it outside and then returned it to its container.
“It depends,” Fumea testified.
He said the DNA profile left behind on the weapon did not belong to any of the victims or Murphy's uncle, Roy Martin, who found the bodies.
The prosecution will continue presenting evidence Friday morning before Judge Al Bell.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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