POUGHKEEPSIE – The Dutchess
County grand jury has determined that the fatal shooting of a man along
the side of Interstate 84 in Beacon last May by a police officer was justified.
Sergeant Robert Sellick shot and killed Michael Murphy, 38, of West Simsbury,
Connecticut, on May 7. “The police actions in this case prevented
what could very well have been a life threatening encounter with innocent
victims,” said District Attorney William Grady.
Knife used in the assalt on the police officer
The district attorney’s investigative report compiled separate and apart
from the grand jury investigation established that Murphy was “delusional”
and thought he had developed a relationship with a woman in New York State
who was part of a spiritual/healing group of which he was a member.
The spiritual leader suggested that Murphy seek help for his delusional
thinking, but they were unsuccessful.
Murphy quit his job two days before the incident, telling a coworker he
had to take care of a problem with a woman in New York.
On the day of the incident, he purchased an eight-inch butcher knife in
Connecticut, and then left for New York in a pickup truck that contained
a rope, parachute chord and Mapquest directions from his home to the home
of the woman who was part of the group.
On the way, he was the subject of a high-speed chase by Connecticut State
When he got to Beacon, Murphy committed a robbery during which he lunged
at a victim with the knife. The robbery resulted in a chase by Beacon
City Police that ended at the scene of the fatal encounter along I-84.
During that encounter, efforts to persuaded Murphy to drop the knife were
unsuccessful, resulting in confronting Sergeant Sellick with the knife.
The officer, in turn, fired his service weapon, killing Murphy.