Jury deliberations got underway Thursday in the trial of a Menifee man accused of kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, threatening to kill her and shooting one of three men who came to her aid.
Quentin Damon Murphy, 49, could face multiple life sentences if convicted of four counts of attempted murder, as well as one count each of kidnapping to commit rape, stalking and shooting at an occupied dwelling, along with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
After more than a week of testimony, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly sent jurors behind closed doors to begin weighing evidence. The panel spent a short time in deliberations before breaking for the day and will return to the Riverside Hall of Justice on Friday morning.
Murphy testified Wednesday that he was “under the effect” of alcohol and drugs before, during and after he took the victim, identified only as “Eva,” to his residence in the 25000 block of Leah Lane. The defendant said that he had consumed a bottle of Moscato wine, as well as ingested the prescription anti-depressants Celexa and Trazodone, on the night of April 5, 2015, when he allegedly forced the woman to leave her workplace and go with him.
According to the prosecution, the defendant held the victim against her will for more than three hours and was not impaired by the alcohol and medication because he’d built up a tolerance after daily consumption of both for years.
Murphy was suicidal at the time of the alleged abduction, threatening to kill both himself and Eva, according to sheriff’s investigators.
Sgt. Glenn Williams previously said the woman was frightened for her life while she sat in Murphy’s house, with him standing over her, armed with a .38-caliber handgun, and “was able to covertly send a text message to family members for help during the ordeal.”
Three of her friends went to look for her and spotted her vehicle in Murphy’s driveway, at which point the men approached the home and knocked on the front door, according to trial testimony.
Murphy testified that because it was nearly 11 p.m., he feared the trio might be burglars and grabbed a handful of bullets from a drawer with which to reload his pistol in the event he had to open fire.
While the defendant was distracted, Eva bolted out the door, screaming, “He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!” She and the men fled to the pickup truck that her rescuers had arrived in — with Murphy not far behind, in pursuit.
Deputy District Attorney Kevin Beecham alleged Murphy fired multiple shots at the men, striking one of them in the face. Two occupied houses in the neighborhood were also struck by gunfire, though no one was injured in either residence.
The defendant said he opened fire believing the three men were trying to hurt Eva.
One of her friends drove the pickup straight into Murphy as he stood in the middle of the roadway, according to investigators. The defendant’s left leg was severed at the knee by the impact.
Murphy was disarmed after being struck and was taken to Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he spent weeks in recovery and was fitted with a prosthetic limb.
The man who was shot in the face, whose name was withheld, still carries the bullet, which is lodged underneath his collar bone, according to Beecham. He said the victim underwent several reconstructive surgeries to repair the damage and continues to struggle with psychological trauma.
Murphy is being held in lieu of $4 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail. According to court records, he has a prior conviction for attempted burglary.
–City News Service
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