A man convicted more than a decade ago of the beating death of an infant girl, only to have his case overturned because of judicial error, pleaded guilty Monday to murder, court officials said.
Timothy Murphy, 41, was convicted in 1998 of the murder of 15-month-old Tytanna. He was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison, but the Georgia Supreme Court turned back the clock on Murphys case when they found that former Superior Court Judge Doug Pullen made an inappropriate comment.
That put Murphy on Monday before Chief Judge John Allen, where he pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison with the chance of parole, court officials said. Murphy was given credit the time hes served in prison.
Based on the sentencing structure in place back then, hes eligible for parole in 14 years, said defense attorney Will Kirby. The risk of taking it to trial wasnt worth it for him.
The inappropriate comment by Pullen that put Murphys case back in Muscogee County came during the 1998 trial.
In responding to an objection during Detective Drew Tyners testimony, Pullen referred to the officer as a good detective, and also commented that Tyner has worked a lot of cases and hes got a recollection, and hes got a written memorandum, and hopefully between the two of those and his good efforts, were going to find the truth of the matter.
Murphy appealed, and the Supreme Court ruled the evidence was sufficient for a conviction. It was Pullens inappropriate commentary during Tyners testimony that prompted the reversal.
Pullen resigned last year amid a judicial misconduct investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
Murphy and his codefendant, Carmen Jackson, were found guilty in the Sept. 19, 1998, death of Jacksons daughter, Tytanna. Murphy lived with Jackson and her two children, and Murphy had been babysitting the child that day while Jackson was at work.
About midnight, after Jackson arrived home, Murphy heard the child whining and found her struggling to breathe. According to testimony, Murphy administered CPR while Jackson called 911.
Medical experts said at trial that the baby had been beaten so severely that her pancreas ruptured. She also had wounds consistent with sexual abuse, two broken ribs and bruising all over her body.
Murphy and Jackson were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison plus 20 years. The Supreme Court upheld Jacksons conviction and sentence in 2007, and her case is unaffected by the Supreme Courts decision about Murphy.