| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Jury convicts Murphy in triple murders at Loyalhanna business

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.
Kevin Murphy

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, May 3, 2013, 10:48 a.m.

Westmoreland County jurors convicted on Friday convicted a Loyalhanna Township businessman of executing his mother, sister and aunt four years ago — but Kevin Murphy plans to ask a jury to spare his life.

The trial jury of eight men and four women deliberated for 3 12 hours before finding him guilty of three counts of first-degree murder.

Murphy, 52, of Conemaugh Township, Indiana County, fired a .22-caliber revolver into the back of the heads of his mother, Doris Murphy, 69; sister, Kris Murphy, 43; and aunt, Edith Tietge, 81. Their bodies were discovered in the shop area of Murphy's business, Ferguson Glass, on April 23, 2009.

He showed no emotion as the jury foreman announced the verdict after 10 days of testimony before Common Pleas Judge Al Bell.

The prosecution contended Murphy killed his relatives so he could move his soon-to-be-divorced girlfriend into the home near Saltsburg that he shared with his mother and sister.

“Naturally, we're disappointed. Kevin is somebody who I thought had a very good defense. We're surprised at how fast the jury came back,” defense attorney Bob Bell said.

Murphy's two uncles, an aunt and family friends left the courthouse without comment.

The jury will return on Monday, when District Attorney John Peck will argue that Murphy should be put to death. He declined to comment after the verdict.

Bell said the defense team will spend the weekend preparing evidence of mitigating circumstances that could convince jurors to sentence Murphy to life in prison.

In a closing argument, Peck told jurors that Murphy had the motive, means and opportunity to kill the victims.

A series of witnesses, Murphy's own statements to police and testimony from a jailhouse informant placed Murphy at the crime scene.

Peck told jurors that Murphy killed his mother first and then killed his sister when she walked into the shop. Peck said Murphy killed his Aunt Edie because she returned to the shop and saw the other victims.

“The person who brought them into the garage is someone they knew, someone they trusted, someone they thought loved them as a son, a brother and a nephew,” Peck told jurors.

Murphy wanted to “knock off” the victims because they objected to his relationship with Susan McGuire, who received divorce papers from her husband on the day of the murders, according to testimony.

A day after the shooting, McGuire moved into Murphy's home. Four months later, he bought her a $14,000 ring, and they became engaged.

John Meighan, who was facing drunken driving charges when he befriended Murphy in prison, testified Murphy said that McGuire put him up to the murders. McGuire has not been charged.

She is running Murphy's business with her live-in boyfriend, Donald Shondelmyer, Murphy's lifelong friend who worked with him at Ferguson Glass.

“When you look at the facts, it's inconceivable anyone else but the defendant committed these crimes,” Peck told jurors.

During his closing argument, defense attorney Mark Bolkovac deflected blame toward McGuire and Shondelmyer, saying they had motive and opportunity to commit the murders.

“I'm not saying they did this. But I'm saying you can find motive in many places,” Bolkovac told jurors.

Murphy testified he was across the road, feeding cows at his uncle's farm, when the women were killed.

He explained that his DNA was on the murder weapon because he used it earlier that day to shoot at a nesting robin outside the shop. Murphy testified he was “deathly afraid” of birds since he was attacked by one as a teenager.

The prosecution argued Murphy staged the bird shooting in an attempt cover up his role in the murders.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates trade for Mariners LHP Happ, Dodgers 1B/OF Morse
  2. Steelers notebook: Officials discuss new game ball procedures
  3. Hurdle: Soria likely to assume setup role with Watson
  4. Pirates place Burnett on 15-day disabled list
  5. Armstrong escapee caught; murder charges pending
  6. Gameday: Pirates at Cincinnati, Aug. 1, 2015
  7. Allegheny County DA’s office: Photo of staffer with gun evidence violates protocol
  8. Police: Lincoln-Lemington burglary suspect shoots self during foot chase with police
  9. MLB notebook: Mets boost lineup, acquire Cespedes from Tigers
  10. West Kittanning church marks 100 years of ups and downs
  11. Heyl: Longtime disc jockey Jimmy Roach to turn dismissal into brighter times