- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf The Mysterious Death of Norwood 'Fixture' Billy (Peanut) Murphy | Bronx News Networkbronx

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Mysterious Death of Norwood 'Fixture' Billy (Peanut) Murphy

Born premature on Aug. 25, 1962, Billy Murphy was a tiny baby who looked like a little "peanut," one of his older brothers said at the time. The name stuck. Even as a grown-up, everyone knew him as "Peanut."

Last Wednesday night, a gimpy-legged "Peanut" Murphy walked out of Whalen Park, on the corner of 205th Street and Perry Avenue in Norwood, where he drank Cobra malt liquor -- on most nights and days for the past two decades -- to pick up some more beer. Probably from the Family Grocery, near Rochambeau Avenue, where we worked for a time (and was paid in beer and cigarettes, according to a friend).

The next day, Murphy lay brain dead at St. Barnabas Hospital, his face and head swollen to the point that he was nearly unrecognizable. Vicar Bob Rainis of Epiphany Lutheran, where Murphy often slept and received the sacrament, said Murphy was so badly beaten and bruised, he mostly identified him by the shamrock tattoo on his forearm.

Rainis read Murphy his last rites on Saturday and he died early Sunday morning, at the age of 47, just 10 days before his birthday.

While most believe Murphy fatally hit his head as the result of bad fall, many believe that even if he did fall (which he was prone to as a heavy drinker with bad legs, the result of a scaffolding accident that left him permanently hobbled.), he was savagely beaten beforehand. In other words, Murphy was murdered.

Police could not be immediately reached for comment, but we'll keep trying.

McKeon Funeral Home, located just a block from Whalen, is taking care of all the funeral arrangements. There will be a wake starting at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Epiphany Lutheran on E. 206th Street, just down the street from Bainbridge Avenue.The funeral service will begin at 7 p.m.

By all accounts, Murphy was a nice guy who struggled mightily with alcohol and stubbornly refused any public assistance aside from the kindness of friends and the congregation at Epiphany Lutheran.

"He's the sweetest man I ever met," said Jeanie Brady, one of Murphy's friends, who lives near Rochambeau and 206th Street. "He used to help everyone but himself."  

Brady called Murphy a "piece of fixture in the neighborhood."

"Believe it or not," Rainis said, "Billy was one of our greatest ambassadors. He would talk to people walking by the church and say, 'You coming to church on Sunday? You should. You're going to love this place.'"

Rainis, a former cop, said he's not sure if police have classified Murphy's case as a homicide, but he and many of his friends at Whalen Park believe it was just that.

"I believe he was killed," said Savcho Sanev in a thick Bulgarian accent. Earlier today Sanev, who calls Murphy his "brother," and four of Murphy's other friends, sat on a bench at Whalen Park, drinking Cobras and mourning their loss.

Some speculated that Murphy's beating may have come at the hands of opportunistic teenagers who saw the small drunk homeless man as an easy target. Others said it could have been a gang initiation. Others said maybe he fell really really hard this time.

But Murphy's Whalen Park friends say police told them they were treating the case as homicide and that they told them that Murphy sustained 10 broken ribs, not something likely to happen from a simple fall, however intoxicated he may have been.

"I'm so (expletive) sad," Sanev said. 


  1. Few months ago another homeless man who one would see at the 205 subway station was beaten to death!

  2. The funeral service last night for Billy at Epiphany Lutheran was an emotional and powerful gathering. As Vicar Bob said during the eulogy, Billy's death, which appears to be the result of a vicious assault, is a loss to Norwood as a community. As a community, we cannot remain silent when a vicious act is committed against any one of us. I'll be following up with the 52nd precinct on the investigation into Billy's death and will make sure they are reminded about the recent death of Mr. Singh in the D-train 205th St. Station. I hope Billy inspires all of us to look out for one another.

  3. Billy was a favorite of mine. Always had a smile for everyone. Always willing to help everyone in any way he could. Who ever did this to such a wonderful human being such as Billy, I
    will pray for there soul when they are rotting in hell.As for Billy, he will at peace and with
    our Lord, God Almighty.

  4. Billy Murphy is not the kind of person you could forget. He was kind, and considerate. Although he had a bad life all his life, he always managed to make people smile. He did alot
    of work for our community, especially the Lutheran church. He will be missed by all.
    We love you, Billy.....
    Rest in Peace........


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