Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Man appealing conviction

by The Indiana Gazette on September 27, 2013 11:00 AM

A man who was sentenced to death in the murders of three family members is appealing his conviction and is seeking a new trial.

In the appeal filed Wednesday, Kevin Murphy, 52, argues that Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas Judge Al Bell should never have allowed the case to be put before a jury on account of insufficient evidence.

Murphy was convicted in May of three counts of first-degree murder for killing his mother, Doris Murphy, 69; his sister, Kris Murphy, 43; and his aunt, Edith Tietge, 81. All three were shot in the back of the head in April 2009 at Ferguson Auto Glass in Loyalhanna Township, where they worked with Murphy.

According to prosecutors, Murphy killed the women with a .22-caliber gun he brought into the shop a few days before the incident. The gun was found in the shop, and Murphy’s DNA was found on the gun. Prosecutors said a bit of gunshot residue was found on his hands. Prosecutors contended that Murphy killed the family members because they did not approve of his relationship with a married woman who was going through a divorce at the time.

Murphy, however, maintained his innocence during the trial and took the stand in his own defense.

He told jurors he didn’t know who was responsible and that he was helping an uncle with chores at a nearby farm at the time of the killings.

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