Westmoreland County Judge Al Bell yesterday denied an appeal of the conviction and death penalty against an Indiana County man who was found guilty of murdering his sister, mother, and aunt in April of 2009.
Murphy was found guilty of shooting the three women at the family’s glass business outside of Saltsburg in Loyalhanna Township, Westmoreland County. Testimony at the trial indicated that he did it at the behest of a married lover who was angry that the victims disapproved of his relationship with her.
In a 36-page opinion, the judge ruled that the circumstantial evidence presented at the trial of 53-year-old Kevin Murphy of Conemaugh Township, combined with the direct evidence, outweigh the defense claim that the death penalty is not warranted. The direct evidence Bell referred to included the murder weapon, which was found hidden in a piece of equipment near the woman’s bodies, Murphy’sDNA on the gun, and gunshot residue on his hand.
The appeal by defense attorneys Bob Bell and Mark Bolkovac contended that the weight of the evidence should not have led to conviction, that the court was in error by allowing Murphy’s statements to police after the shooting to be used against him because he was drugged at the time, and that the death penalty should not have been imposed because the nature of the evidence could, in their opinion, lead to the execution of an innocent man.
Murphy is currently on death row at SCI Greene County.