10 year old Rape Case Solved by Cigarette Butt Ends with 35 Year Prison Sentence

On February, 21, 2018, Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Fisher argued strenuously for the court to impose a life sentence for the 2007 attack on a Stafford woman that was solved 10 years later.  The court opted for a  35 year term.

The sentence ends what had been a 10 year old (2007) cold case of rape and abduction of a then 18 year old Stafford County woman solved on the DNA of a cigarette butt left at the crime scene.

The defendant, Richard T. Murphy had been stationed at Quantico and after a night of drinking he talked his way into the car of a woman asking that she give him a ride to meet his friends a short distance from the Wawa convenience store where she had stopped for a snack. 

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Murphy pretended to need a ride to meet friends, and somewhat reluctantly the victim agreed.  Upon arriving at the location where his friends were supposed to be, he indicated that they were not there and asked if she would just give him a ride home.  She did, however, she soon found herself in Fauquier county in a rural farm area where he attacked her after asking to stop to relieve himself on a side road.

Murphy stalked his victim as she stopped in at a Wawa store to shop for a snack

She struggled with Murphy during the attack, and after a period of time, a pickup truck saw the two, and Murphy panicked and ran away from the scene.  Local dairy farmers helped the victim and they called 911 for help.

The case remained unsolved until a DNA hit on a cigarette butt showed Murphy’s DNA from a domestic violence case in California matched the cigarette butt.  He was extradited to Virginia, convicted and sentenced.  Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Fisher argued for the maximum sentence, but trial judge Jeffrey Parker opted for a 35 year prison sentence for the attack.

Murphy dropped a cigarette butt at the scene of the attack which matched his DNA entered into a national database after a California conviction for domestic abuse

See here for local coverage of court hearing.