Baby death case against Oklahoma woman dismissed

AP News
Posted: Sep 12, 2014 9:33 PM

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The murder case against a Tulsa woman who spent nearly two decades in prison in the death of her infant son was dismissed Friday.

Tulsa County District Judge William Kellough found Michelle Murphy innocent 20 years to the day after Murphy's 15-week-old son, Travis, was found nearly decapitated on the kitchen floor of her apartment, The Tulsa World reported ( ). The dismissal of the case came after prosecutors said they would not attempt to retry Murphy, whose 1995 murder conviction was vacated in May. She was then released from prison on bail.

"I've always known I'm innocent," Murphy, 37, said. "I wanted other people to know that, too."

Prosecutors had argued during her trial that some blood collected at the scene was not the child's. But subsequent DNA testing that was not available at the time contradicted prosecutors' theory by revealing that the blood did belong to the baby, according to a motion filed in May by the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office.

Kellough had ordered DNA testing in April on several items from the scene after the Innocence Project, a group that works to overturn wrongful convictions primarily through DNA, entered post-conviction proceedings on Murphy's behalf.

In their May motion, prosecutors also requested that Murphy's murder conviction for her son's 1994 death and the no-parole life term be vacated based on the blood evidence analysis. Kellough then vacated the conviction, leaving open the possibility of a new trial.

One of Murphy's attorneys, Richard O'Carroll, said their legal team did not go to Friday's hearing expecting the case to be dismissed.

"I thought it would be fought out," O'Carroll said.

Murphy initially told police she accidentally stabbed her son while picking him up, but later claimed she was pressured into the confession and made the story up, the newspaper reported.

The defense had made efforts to blame a teenage neighbor who was not charged and died of accidental asphyxiation before Murphy's trial.


Information from: Tulsa World,