Attorneys: Verdicts justified in 3 Loyalhanna garage murders
Evidence presented during a monthlong trial in the spring was enough to support a murder conviction and death penalty imposed on Kevin Murphy for killing his mother, his sister and his aunt, the prosecution said in court documents filed on Friday.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck and assistant District Attorney James Lazar submitted an 11-page legal argument in which they said jurors returned the proper verdicts against Murphy, 52.
“The evidence in this case clearly shows that the defendant murdered the victims with a specific intent and malice when the defendant shot each victim, one after another, in the side or back of each their heads,” the prosecution wrote.
“The defendant surely intended the shootings to have fatal results as he fired two shots into the head of Doris Murphy, three shots into the head of Kris Murphy and one shot into the head of Edith Tietge, his mother, sister and aunt.”
Murphy was sent to death row after being convicted of three counts of first degree murder for the April 23, 2009, fatal shootings of his 69-year-old mother; 43-year-old sister, and 81-year-old aunt.
The prosecution contended the women, whose bodies were found in the garage area of the family-owned Ferguson Glass in Loyalhanna, had objected to Murphy's relationship with a married woman.
At trial, Peck and Lazar argued that Murphy wanted to move his girlfriend into his Indiana County home and killed his mother, sister and aunt at his girlfriend's urging. Murphy had been sharing the Conemaugh home with his mother and sister.
Now his former girlfriend, she has never been charged.
Murphy's defense lawyers, in court documents filed last month, argued jurors did not have enough evidence to find Murphy guilty.
The defense has asked Judge Al Bell to vacate Murphy's death sentence or grant him a new murder trial.
The defense claimed the jury's verdict was based only on the prosecution's theory that the murder weapon used by the killer was owned by the defendant and that Murphy confessed his crime to a jailhouse informant.
Peck and Lazar countered that Murphy was linked to the murder weapon by his employee and that the jailhouse confession was credible.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Woman foils robbery attempt in Pleasant Unity
- Cancer fundraiser pays tribute to Donegal man
- Greensburg man, out on bond, ID’d in robbery
- Monessen man gets long prison term, then gets married
- Irwin class helps recovering addicts, families find peace through art
- Medical center ‘monstrosity’ near end in Jeannette
- 3 men held for trial in Jeannette assault
- New Geyer Choir hopes to hit high note at Scottdale theater
- Loaded gun found in carry-on at Arnold Palmer airport could cost passenger $7,000
- 33 from Westmoreland County inducted into state’s Voter Hall of Fame
- Hempfield students get court lesson as judge holds hearings in high school