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Friday, September 3, 2010

52nd Precinct Treating Death of Homeless Man as an Accident

Last week, the Norwood News published an in-depth look at the death of a local homeless man named Billy Murphy, aka "Peanut."

Most of the people we spoke with, including friends and others who knew him, believed Murphy was savagely beaten, either before or after falling.  Murphy, who had a serious drinking problem and bad legs, was prone to falling and friends say he could be combative, especially when drunk.

Vicar Bob Rainis of Epiphany Lutheran Church, a former NYPD homicide detective who gave Murphy his last rites hours before he died on Sunday, Aug. 15, said Murphy's wounds indicated that he had suffered more than just a fall.

"I think he went down, but the other wounds indicate it must be the result of a violent altercation," he said. 

But today, Deputy Inspector John D'Adamo said 52nd Precinct detectives had gathered no evidence that pointed to Murphy being the victim of a beating prior to his death. D'Adamo said detectives spoke with at least one witness who told them they had seen Murphy on the night before he went into a coma and that it looked like he had suffered a head wound. When the witnessed asked him what happened, Murphy replied, "I fell," according to D'Adamo.

Rainis said he had heard a similar story, but that something must have happened to Murphy between that point and when somebody called 911 to say they had found Murphy unconscious."There's a 20 to 25 minute period where nobody can attest to what happened to him," Rainis said.

D'Adamo said the investigation was still ongoing and that Medical Examiner's Office was still in the process of completing its analysis. He added that his detectives were all ears if somebody wanted to come forward with new evidence or information. The Medical Examiner's Office did not immediately return phone calls seeking information.

Muphy's death was the latest in as string of what appear to be violent incidents involving the local homeless population. D'Adamo said he wasn't aware of any trends that would suggest people were targeting the this population, but added that he would look into the matter.

1 comment:

  1. I used to think that at least the homicide rates couldn't be faked -- after all, if there's a dead body, it has to be accounted for.

    But DI Inspector has shown me that it may not be the case. A death can be classified as a homicide or an accident.

    I hope everyone working on investigating this case has thought about our friend, Billy Murphy, as they would their brother or their cousin. I hope no one is being overly quick to classify this as an accident. Because that would really be a shame -- and it might mean that someone else is the victim of a similar crime.


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