Murphy admitted to killing family, informant claims
Kevin Murphy's girlfriend wanted out of her marriage and into a new place to live, a witness testified Friday.
Susan McGuire had been dating Murphy for about a year when they had one of their usual early-morning meetings in a grocery store parking lot on April 23, 2009, said John Meighan, a former inmate at the Westmoreland County Prison who met Murphy there.
Murphy's mother didn't approve of her son's relationship with a married woman, Meighan told jurors. McGuire wanted to move into Murphy's home, but his mother and sister lived there.
“That morning, Susan said, 'Today's the day you're going to knock them off,'” Meighan testified.
And that was the day someone fatally shot Murphy's mother, Doris Murphy, 69; his sister, Kris Murphy, 43; and his aunt, Edith Tietge, 81, in the garage area of Ferguson Glass, the family-owned business in Loyalhanna Township, Westmoreland County, according to police.
Meighan testified during Kevin Murphy's trial as District Attorney John Peck seeks the death penalty. The defense contends someone else shot Murphy's family members on April 23, 2009.
Meighan, 50, of Greensburg described conversations he had with Murphy in prison following his arrest one year after the murders. Murphy, 52, of Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.
McGuire had dated Murphy about 20 years ago and then resumed their relationship about a year before the shootings, Meighan testified.
“She wanted to be with him since way back when,” Meighan told jurors. “She wanted to move in with him, but his mother didn't want them to be together.”
Meighan testified that Murphy described in detail how McGuire orchestrated the murders and instructed him about how to cover up his actions.
Meighan testified that Murphy told him, “I knocked them off.”
McGuire told Murphy to use a gun to shoot at birds outside the shop that morning in front of shop employee Donald Shondelmyer, Meighan told jurors.
Shondelmyer would back up Murphy's story and that would explain why there was a gun in the shop, Meighan said.
Murphy bragged that Shondelmyer would do as he was told. Murphy “said Don's his (expletive) and he did whatever he wants him to do,” Meighan testified.
Shondelmyer testified earlier this week that he now runs the glass shop with McGuire and that he left his wife to move in with Murphy's former girlfriend. Shondelmyer testified they were living in Murphy's home.
Meighan testified that McGuire instructed Murphy to work during the day, kill his mother and then run across the street to his uncle's farm and be seen feeding cows to provide him an alibi.
McGuire told Murphy to fake a panic attack after the shooting, Meighan testified.
McGuire has not been charged, a fact that prompted Meighan to talk to police about the revelations from Murphy.
“His girlfriend was involved and I couldn't understand why she wasn't arrested as well. I don't think Kevin would have done this if it wasn't for her,” Meighan testified.
Meighan recounted how Murphy told him where the bodies of the victims were found in the garage and where he discarded the gun after the shooting. Both details matched testimony from police investigators earlier in the trial.
Meighan said he never intended to incriminate Murphy. “He continued to talk and I continued to listen,” Meighan testified.
Meighan was in jail after being detained on a probation violation for a drunken driving offense. Meighan testified he had been charged with three new drunken driving cases. All cases are pending,
Meighan testified there are no deals in place for lesser sentences, but said he hoped to receive leniency for his testimony against Murphy. Meighan testified he has served no additional time in jail since he testified against Murphy at a preliminary hearing in May 2010.
A ballistics expert testified that a gun found hidden in the glass shop killed Kris Murphy and Tietge. But bullet fragments removed from Doris Murphy were too mutilated to be linked to the gun, said Cpl. Robert Hagins of state police.
Police found a .22-caliber Magnum revolver in a catch basin under a piece of equipment in the shop.
Murphy told police he had used a .22-caliber revolver on the morning of the murders to shoot at a robin nesting in a tree outside his shop. Murphy was taken to a hospital on the night of the murders for an apparent anxiety attack, police said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.