POUGHKEEPSIE – A Dutchess County grand jury 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.
“The law provides circumstances under which an individual is justified in using deadly physical force and in this particular case the deceased was armed with a 12-inch butcher knife, which he raised and started heading toward Officer Sellick and it was very, very short distance away, a matter of feet, and under the circumstances, the grand jury concluded that, coupled with all of the information that was put before the grand jury that the officer’s actions were justified,” Grady said.
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 Police.
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 near the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
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.