Mother of boy who shot friend sentenced to maximum prison term
July 8, 2005
FALLON – The mother of a Fallon teen who accidentally shot and killed a friend last year will serve 18-48 months in the Nevada State Prison for involuntary manslaughter, the maximum term allowable by law.
Darcie Murphy showed little emotion as she was led from the courtroom Thursday to begin serving the prison term.
Her son, Josh Murphy, killed Mark Anthony in September when he fired a 12-gauge shotgun at the victim, believing the gun was not loaded. Mark died instantly from a shotgun blast to the face. Mark was visiting Josh at the Murphy family home on McLean Street. Both boys were 14 years old at the time.
District Judge Robert Estes said Murphy, 34, committed several crimes before the shooting by buying the weapon for her son when he was 13 years old, then lying to police when Josh fired the shotgun in the neighborhood. The judge also noted that Josh pointed the gun and pulled the trigger while aiming at his brother and a friend before the fatal accident.
“You bought the gun. You bought the ammunition and then you watched while your son fired it in the neighborhood and fired it at a house,” Estes told Murphy. “You lied to police when the gunshots were fired and you also made statements to police that you were going to make sure the gun was never fired again. You didn’t do it. What did you think was going to happen? You didn’t think or you didn’t care.”
Murphy apologized to Tim Anthony, Mark’s father, who drove from the Bay area to attend the sentencing hearing.
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“I’m truly very sorry about your son,” she told Anthony.
The words did nothing to ease Anthony’s pain.
“Short of public lynching, there’s nothing that would satisfy me,” Anthony said outside the courtroom. “My son is no longer with us because of her decision making. She had a duty to her children, she had a duty to my son and she had a duty to the community. She failed in all respects.
“(Mark) came to Nevada walking and talking – a great kid. I took him home in a box the size of a shoebox. That’s not fair.”
Defense attorney Paul Drakulich said Josh attempted suicide after the shooting. Josh pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sent to a juvenile detention center in January. He will be coming home later this month, Drakulich said.
He said Murphy had a tragic life marked by mental health issues.
“It’s tougher for Darcie to manage her life and her children’s lives than someone under better circumstances,” Drakulich said. “We’re dealing with someone who was doing the best she could and we’re also dealing with someone who is not going to do well in prison. Darcie is horrified about what happened and very sorry.”
Deputy District Attorney Tom Stockard said Murphy was with an ex-felon in a local park when she purchased the shotgun for her son, “which set this tragic event in motion.”
“Neither her nor her son had any firearm training. She bought shells and numerous times the gun was fired in a congested area,” he said. “The shotgun was pointed at individuals and the trigger was pulled. She was aware of his conduct and his habit of pointing the gun and pulling the trigger.”
Anthony asked Judge Estes to impose the maximum sentence, saying Murphy lied to police about past instances with the weapon and taught her children to lie.
“Not 20 of her is worth one of Mark,” he said. “He was a great kid. He was a great boy. I just don’t think I can convey to the court enough that this has turned my life upside down.”
n Contact reporter Marlene Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.