Police storm N.J. home to end 37-hour standoff, fatally shoot hostage-taker

May 12, 2013
New Jersey
Police fatally shoot
hostage-taker

Police stormed a New Jersey home early Sunday and fatally shot a registered sex offender who had held his girlfriend’s children hostage, ending their 37-hour ordeal and recovering the bodies of the captives’ mother and another sibling, authorities said.

Officers initially went to the South Trenton home Friday after a relative of Carmelita Stevens, 44, said she hadn’t spoken to her in weeks and was worried, authorities said Sunday. Authorities then discovered that her children hadn’t been to school in 12 days.

Police found Gerald “Skip” Tyrone Murphy, 38, in an upstairs bedroom of the home and he told them he was armed with a gun and explosives and had three children with him, Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr. said. Officers found Stevens’s 19-year-old son in the basement. He said he hadn’t seen his mother or siblings since about April 24.

Authorities then found the bodies of Stevens and her 13-year-old son in separate bedrooms. Three of Stevens’s other children — an 18-year-old daughter, a 16-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son — were rescued.

— Associated Press

INDIANA
Four found dead
inside man’s home

A southern Indiana man returning home from work found two people shot to death in his living room, and investigators found two other bodies inside, authorities said Sunday.

Bartholomew County Sheriff Mark Gorbett said three men were found dead in the living room Saturday evening and a woman’s body was found in a bedroom of the home in Waynesville, a small unincorporated town about 50 miles south of Indianapolis. All four were shot, County Coroner Larry Fisher said.

“We still have crime scene techs and criminal investigators at the scene and anticipate them being there for quite a length of time,” Gorbett said. “We are following up on all leads at this point and we have no one in custody at this time.”

Fisher identified the woman as homeowner Katheryn Burton, who was 53 or 54, and two of the men as Aaron Cross and Thomas Smith, both about 40. He withheld the name of the other man until relatives could be notified.

— Associated Press

Indiana

PETROLIA, Calif. — More than 70 law enforcement officers were part of the ongoing hunt Sunday for a Northern California man wanted in the killing of his wife and two young daughters.

OTTAWA, Kan. — Authorities believe that a slain 18-month-old girl whose body was found over the weekend was killed on the eastern Kansas farm where her mother and two men were killed, and that the child’s body was later disposed of in the next county.

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