N.J. Suspect Killed. After enduring several days of captivity inside a small room of their New Jersey home that also contained the decomposing bodies of their mother and teenage brother, three siblings were finally freed when police stormed the house and killed the registered sex offender who had held them at gunpoint for 37 hours.
But how and why the standoff occurred is just one of the many questions that law enforcement officials are working to resolve.
The standoff at the South Trenton home ended early Sunday when police stormed the residence and confronted 38-year-old Gerald “Skip” Tyrone Murphy in an upstairs bedroom. An officer then shot Murphy because he was threatening one of the children.
State police Col. Rick Fuentes said the decision to enter the home was made because officials grew more concerned about Murphy’s “deteriorating state of mind” and to help ensure the captives survived. Murphy had kept the captives with him inside the roughly 10-foot-by-11-foot bedroom throughout the standoff,
The police remained in contact with Murphy throughout the standoff and passed food into the home through an upstairs window, state police Col. Rick Fuentes said. Murphy kept the captives with him inside the roughly 10-foot-by-11-foot bedroom throughout the standoff, authorities said.
As the standoff stretched into a third day, officers entered the home about 3:45 a.m. yesterday after noting Murphy’s “deteriorating state of mind” and deciding it was necessary to enter to help ensure the captives survived, Fuentes said. An officer shot Murphy because he was threatening one of the children, he said.
Murphy was taken to a hospital and later died of his injuries. No law enforcement personnel were injured during the standoff or the confrontation with Murphy.
“This was a very complex matter, considering the space (where the hostages were) and that three children were involved,” Fuentes said. “Our mission over those 37 hours was to save innocent lives.”
Authorities found the bodies of Stevens and her 13-year-old son in separate bedrooms. Stevens’s body was in an advanced state of decomposition, and the police said she and her son may have been killed two weeks ago. The police didn’t say which of the bodies they had seen inside the home Friday afternoon.
Three of Stevens’s children – an 18-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy – were rescued and taken to a medical center for evaluation and treatment. Murphy had abused and assaulted the captives, Bocchini said.
Murphy and Stevens had been dating for a few months, and both lived in the house, the police said. He was not the father of any of her children.
Authorities wouldn’t comment on a possible motive or say how the victims died, citing the ongoing investigation. They also would not say whether any bombs or other explosives were recovered at the residence.
Attempts to contact the victims’ relatives and neighbors were unsuccessful yesterday.
Murphy had a long criminal history including convictions for aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy, Bocchini said.
He had previously been arrested for robbery and weapons offenses and child endangerment. He also had an arrest warrant in Pennsylvania for failing to register as a sex offender.