Still No Trial Date For Murphy

Still No Trial Date For Murphy

Court Finds Alleged Killer Not Competent

Gregory Murphy remains not competent to stand trial.

Alexandria Circuit Court Judge, Alfred Swersky, accepted the most recent medical report on Murphy’s competency to stand trial at a hearing on June 6. Murphy, who is accused of murdering eight-year-old Kevin Shifflett in Del Ray in April, 2000, is hospitalized at Central State Hospital and is being forcibly treated with antipsychotic medication.

Dr. Lilian Tidler, Murphy’s treating psychiatrist, indicated that she has seen some progress in Murphy’s treatment but indicated that he should remain in the hospital and continue receiving various types of medication. He has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

AFTER SWERSKY accepted Tidler’s report, Joseph McCarthy, Murphy’s one remaining attorney, asked if Murphy could address the court. Murphy asked that defense attorney, Johnny Cochran, be appointed to represent him to replace Joseph Bowman, who has withdrawn from the case and left private practice. Swersky told Murphy that he was considering who he would appoint to represent Murphy and would make a decision about that matter in the next two weeks. Cochran has law offices in the District of Columbia but is apparently not taking any criminal cases.

Swersky set a six-month review in the case for early December.

“It is clear that he is making some progress but is apparently still not competent to stand trial,” said Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney, S. Randolph Sengel.

Sengel, who withdrew an earlier motion to have Murphy evaluated by another psychiatrist, is still considering whether to refile that motion. He said that he would make a decision on that in the next two weeks or so.

MEANWHILE, KEVIN’S PARENTS, Tammy and Arthur Shifflett have withdrawn their wrongful death suit against Murphy’s parole officer because electronic monitoring was not required but was optional. The Shifflett’s filed the suit because they alleged that correction officials knew of Murphy’s mental health and substance abuse issues and failed to treat them.

The suit could be refiled.