Gerald Tyrone Murphy: Police kill barricade suspect, find two bodies

Gerald Tyrone Murphy
Gerald Tyrone Murphy, 38. (Credit: Pennsylvania State Police).

After a tense, 37-hour standoff involving three children, police shot and killed 38-year-old Trenton, N.J. barricade suspect Gerald Tyrone Murphy early Sunday morning, officials announced at a news conference.

“For days, the lives of three children were placed at great risk by the presence of one individual who was their captor, Gerald Tyrone Murphy, age 38,” New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes said.

“Today, those children have been rescued from a deadly threat and horrible circumstances at the hands of an armed subject.”

Murphy, who is a registered tier-three sex offender in Pennsylvania, is accused of killing girlfriend Carmelita Stevens, 44, and her 13-year-old son about two weeks ago inside a two-story rental at 250 Grand Street.

“Our preliminary investigation has revealed that the murder of Miss Stevens took place approximately two weeks ago, in addition to the murder of the 13-year-old boy,” Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini said.

Amid the decomposing bodies, Murphy allegedly held hostage three more of Stevens’ children – a 4-year-old boy and two girls, aged 16 and 18 – during a nearly three-day standoff with police that began around 3 p.m. Friday.

“During this whole incident, the welfare of the children who were being held hostage was of paramount concern,” Fuentes said.

“We passed food and bottled water through an upper window, watching and waiting for the best opportunity to end the standoff safely. That opportunity came 37 hours after the first police response, about 3:45 a.m. this morning.”

He said TEAMS – a New Jersey State Police tactical response unit – stormed the home with flash-bang grenades after it became evident Murphy was suffering from ”a deteriorating state of mind” and likely to take further violent action.

“Preliminary information from the investigation now being conducted indicates that following our entry, a single shot was fired by our entry team to stop a threatening action against one of the children by Murphy,” Fuentes said.

Murphy died from his injures at an area hospital.

The three surviving children were rescued and were on Sunday being evaluated at a local hospital.

“There are also allegations that the 18 and 16-year-old girls were abused and assaulted during the time they were held hostage,” Bocchini said.

The children, who were not fathered by Murphy, will be evaluated by state child protective services and placed with a family member.

Trenton Police Department officers responding to the initial call on Friday rescued Stevens’ oldest son, 19, who was found hiding inside the basement.

The teen told police he had not seen his mother or sisters since April 24.

“I would say we have every reason to believe that the kids were in the room and that they were possibly restrained during that period of time,” Bocchini said.

Ignition

The barricade touched off Friday afternoon when Trenton police officers responded to the home Stevens rented on Grant Street to conduct a welfare check.

“Police further received additional information from another family member that Stevens’ two daughters had not been to school in 12 days,” Trenton Police Director Ralph Rivera, Jr. said.

“When officers did not receive a response at the door and, fearing for the safety of the family, they made a forced entry into the home through a rear door and immediately smelled an odor consistent with a decomposing body. The officers also noticed maggots throughout the residence.”

He said police heard a man’s voice coming from behind the closed door of a second-floor front bedroom.

The man, later identified as Murphy, allegedly told police there was a dead person with him in the room, as well as a second body in a rear bedroom.

Officers forced their way into the rear bedroom, where investigators said they found a corpse “in an advanced stage of decomposition,” confirming Murphy’s claim.

Murphy then told police he had barricaded three children with him inside the 10-foot-by-11-foot front bedroom.

He also allegedly said he was armed with a handgun and explosives.

Police secured the residence and retreated after recovering Stevens’ oldest son.

“Our hostage negotiators maintained contact with Murphy throughout the event and our TEAMS members took up tactical positions from which they could move in quickly when needed,” Fuentes said.

Rap sheet

Murphy amassed what Bocchini called “an extensive record involving violence,” spending several stretches in Philadelphia prisons since the early 1990s on charges including aggravated assault, theft and firearms offenses.

“He has convictions for aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy,” Bocchini said.

“He has also been arrested for robbery and weapons offenses, as well as child endangerment.”

Murphy served his longest jail term in Philadelphia after pleading guilty in 2001 to sexual assault, for which he was sentenced to four to ten years’ confinement.

“Murphy, also known as ‘Skip,’ was found to have an arrest warrant out of Pennsylvania for failing to register as a sex offender,” Bocchini said.

Online sex offender registry records list Murphy’s address as of January 2011 as the Ridge Avenue Men’s Shelter in Philadelphia.

Authorities continue to investigate the protracted, complex crime, which now encompasses a police-involved shooting, as well as two homicides and a barricade situation.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Labor Day in NYC: Make the last weekend…

Soon, it’ll be time for wool accessories and knee-high boots. Even the Pumpkin Spice Latte has already arrived — but we still have one last…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.