Lawyer of man charged with murder withdraws motion

  • Defendant Timothy J. Murphy, center seated, is accused by police of slitting the throats of his sister and brother-in-law with intent to murder them. RECORDER STAFF/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 3/14/2019 6:29:34 PM

GREENFIELD — The attorney for the Athol man charged with attempting to murder his sister and brother-in-law by cutting their throats withdrew his motion to dismiss two charges and the defendant returned to holding at the Franklin County House of Correction on Wednesday.

Stephen E. Shea, representing Timothy J. Murphy, had filed a motion in Franklin Superior Court to dismiss the attempted murder charges under a state statute pertaining to attempts to commit murder by poisoning, drowning or strangling another person. Before that motion was heard, however, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Ryan Webber filed a motion to amend the cited statute to one more appropriate and in line with the alleged crime. Shea withdrew his motion once Judge Richard Carey allowed Webber’s.

Shea told Carey he had made his motion due only to the “vastly different penalties” between the initial statute cited and the appropriate one. The initial statute is punishable by imprisonment in state prison for not more than 20 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 and imprisonment for not more than 2½ years. The other statute carries of a range of penalties.

Murphy is accused of invading the Athol home of his sister, Susan Page, and brother-in-law, William Page, on June 5, 2018, and cutting their throats. Police received a report of a disturbance at the home and arrived to find both residents clutching their necks, which were bleeding. Police photographs presented during the hearing showed deep slashes across the center of both victims’ necks.

After the victims were taken to Athol Hospital, Athol Police Officer Erick Fredette and Massachusetts State Police Trooper Steve Torosian went to the Crescent Street residence of Murphy’s nephew. Initially, Murphy was not there, but the nephew called police a short time later to say Murphy was approaching the building.

Police said Murphy was confronted at the home and had a large knife. He was shot with a Taser after allegedly making an “aggressive” movement, though the Taser was ineffective. Murphy was eventually brought to the ground at gunpoint and handcuffed, reportedly telling police, “I was going to turn myself in,” and, “My family cut me out.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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