A 20-year-old murder case was dismissed on this day in 2014 after prosecutors said they would not attempt to retry Michelle Murphy, who was freed this summer after spending nearly two decades in prison for the murder of her infant son.
Twenty years to the day after Murphy’s 15-week-old son, Travis Wood, was found nearly decapitated in Murphy’s home, Tulsa County District Judge William Kellough told her, “This court finds you, Miss Murphy, innocent.”
Outside the courtroom, a tearful Murphy told reporters that “it meant the world to me to finally hear that it’s been acknowledged — something I’ve been trying to prove for 20 years, something I’ve known in my heart.”
Murphy told police she accidentally stabbed the child while picking him up but later said she was pressured into the confession and made up the story.
The Innocence Project, which assists prisoners it believes might be exonerated through DNA testing, entered post-conviction proceedings on Murphy’s behalf in late February 2014. Kellough later ordered additional DNA testing on biological evidence from the crime scene.
Based on forensic analysis of blood evidence, District Attorney Tim Harris filed a motion in May 2014 requesting that Murphy’s murder conviction be vacated.
Harris, the lead prosecutor in the 1995 case, said that he filed the motion because he realized that his argument in the case was not supported by science.
In March 2018, Chief U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell granted summary judgment in favor of the city of Tulsa, finding that attorneys for Michelle Murphy failed to produce evidence that the city had a policy or custom that led to violating her rights.