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Judge Yet to Rule in Murphy Competency Case

Virginia State psychiatrists have determined that Gregory Murphy remains not competent to stand trial for the murder of eight-year-old Kevin Shifflett, but Alexandria Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Randolph Sengel wants a second opinion.

Murphy was found not competent to stand trial in Alexandria Circuit Court more than three years ago. Since that time, he has been incarcerated in an institution for the criminally insane and has been forcibly medicated with antipsychotic drugs with the goal of restoring him to competency to stand trial.

Murphy is accused of murdering Kevin Shifflett in April, 2000, in the front yard of his grandmother’s Del Ray home.

MURPHY WAS in court in Alexandria last week for a mandatory six-month review of his mental status. Dr. Lillian Tidler, the psychiatrist in charge of his treatment, said in her report that Murphy is being treated with a new combination of medications. She stated that while there has been some progress and improvement in his condition, he is still not competent to stand trial.

“We would just like to have a second opinion,” Sengel said. “We are not even asking to select the person who gives that second opinion. This is for the court, not for the Commonwealth or for the defendant.”

Joseph MacCarthy, Murphy’s attorney, argued that this was not necessary and that Sengel was attempting to break new ground under the existing statute. He further argued that an additional evaluation would cause harm to Murphy. Further, MacCarthy argued that the second opinion would violate his client’s Fifth Amendment rights.

Both MacCarthy and Sengel filed additional documents in support of their positions. The judge will decide whether another psychiatrist will evaluate Murphy or not by the end of the week.