Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Man Guilty of Killing Mother, Sister, Aunt

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Man Guilty of Killing Mother, Sister, Aunt

Article excerpt

A Westmoreland County jury Friday convicted Kevin Murphy of first- degree murder in the killings of his mother, sister and aunt four years ago and will return to court Monday to decide if he should be put to death.

"We're going to fight for his life," said one of his lawyers, Bob Bell.

Jurors deliberated just 3 1/2 hours after listening to eight days of testimony.

"I think we're surprised they came back as fast as they did," Mr. Bell said. He would not comment about the defense strategy next week.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck also said he would not comment until the penalty phase is over.

Mr. Murphy was convicted of the April 23, 2009, shootings of his mother, Doris Murphy, 69; his sister, Kris Murphy, 43; and his aunt, Edith Tietge, 81. All three were found shot in the back of the head inside the garage of Ferguson Glass in Loyalhanna, Mr. Murphy's business.

In his closing statement earlier in the day, Mr. Peck told the jury that Mr. Murphy and his girlfriend, Susan McGuire, planned the killings, worked out an alibi and made sure there were no witnesses. Ms. McGuire has not been charged.

Then, he said, Mr. Murphy shot each woman one by one in the glass shop.

"It's inconceivable that anyone else committed this homicide," Mr. Peck said.

He said Mr. Murphy's motive was emotional fulfillment. While a successful businessman who grossed up to $400,000 a year, he was approaching age 50 with no wife and no children.

"He doesn't have what makes people truly happy in life," said Mr. Peck. "And he wanted that."

But his family stood in the way.

His mother and sister both disapproved of his affair with Ms. McGuire, who was married with three children but getting divorced. On the morning of the killings, Mr. Peck said, she told him to "knock off" his family so she could move in with him. Later that day, she called him to say she had been served with the divorce papers. The day after the murders she moved into the house he had shared with his mother and sister.

He lived with her and the children for a year until state troopers arrested him on the anniversary of the murders.

Mr. Peck said Mr. Murphy knew his uncle, who lived across the street on a farm with his sister, Edith Tietge, was heading to an auction that day and told him to stay until the end of the auction and that he would take care of feeding the cows. …

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