Attorneys: Verdicts justified in 3 Loyalhanna garage murders
By Rich Cholodofsky
Published: Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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.
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