Oklahoma Murder Case Gets a Second Look


Nearly twenty years after an Oklahoma woman was convicted of the murder of her infant son, biological and blood evidence from the case is being given a second look. Michelle Murphy was a teenage mother when a Tulsa County jury found her guilty of first-degree murder in the fatal slashing of her baby, Travis Wood, and imposed a no-parole life prison sentence.


Tulsa World

reported that Murphy made a statement to the police saying that she accidentally cut the baby when she picked him up after a confrontation with a neighbor. At a preliminary hearing in 1994, Murphy’s defense pointed blame on her teenage neighbor, William Lee, who testified that he looked through a window and saw Wood in a pool of blood with his throat cut.


At trial, Murphy said she was coerced into confessing and wanted the questioning to end. She told the jury that someone had entered her home and murdered her son while she was asleep. Lee died in an accidental asphyxiation before Murphy’s trial so jurors heard Lee’s tape-recorded testimony.


Last year, Murphy’s legal team filed an application for post-conviction relief on her behalf and filed court papers asserting that Murphy and her son were excluded as the source of blood from the crime scene. Police and medics found the baby dead on the kitchen floor surrounded by blood.


Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck and Staff Attorney Karen Thompson will appear in court on behalf of Murphy at a hearing set for March 25 before Tulsa County District Judge William Kellough.


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