A N.J. homicide suspect was killed by police early Sunday, following an intense 37-hour standoff. Authorities believe the suspect, identified as 38-year-old Gerald Tyrone Murphy, murdered his girlfriend and her teenage son before taking three other children hostage inside their Trenton home.
According to State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes, Murphy’s “deteriorating state of mind,” prompted authorities to move forward with a hostage rescue attempt at approximately 3:45 am on Sunday. Aided by a flash bang grenade, N.J. police stormed the residence and killed the suspect when he threatened harm against one of the young hostages.
“Following our entry, a single shot was fired by our entry team to stop a threatening action against one of the children by Murphy.” Fuentes explained. “Murphy was wounded, taken into custody. He has since died of his injuries.”
Murphy is suspected of murdering his 42-year-old girlfriend, identified as Carmalita Stevens, and her 13-year-old son, leaving their bodies to decompose inside the Trenton home where the standoff occurred.
Police descended upon the residence Friday after relatives reported that Carmalita Stevens and her five children had not been heard from in roughly two weeks.
According to Trenton Police Director Ralph Rivera Jr, police “made a forced entry to the home through a rear door and immediately smelled an odor consistent with a decomposing body. The officers also noticed maggots throughout the residence.”
Officers reportedly found Gerald Murphy barricaded inside an upstairs bedroom. The suspect indicated that he was in possession of a firearm and explosives, and was holding three of Stevens’ children hostage.
Retreating from the home’s second story, police discovered Stevens’ 19-year-old autistic son hiding in the basement. Once he was rescued safely from the residence, the young man indicated that he had not seen the rest of his family since late April.
A three-day standoff between the alleged murderer and nearly 60 officers ensued. “Our hostage negotiators maintained contact with Murphy throughout the event,” Fuentes explained. “We passed food and bottled water through an upper window, watching and waiting for the best opportunity to end this standoff safely.”
Once the N.J. suspect was killed by police, the hostages — identified as Stevens’ 18 and 16-year-old daughters and 4-year-old son — were taken to a local medical facility for evaluation. According to police, evidence suggests that both girls were physically abused by Murphy throughout the ordeal.
The three young hostages were apparently held in the same bedroom where police discovered the decomposing body of their mother. “I have every reason to believe that the kids were in the room and that they were possibly restrained during that period of time,” Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph Bocchini confirmed. “The crime scene investigation is continuing.” The body of their 13-year-old sibling was reportedly discovered elsewhere in the home.
The N.J. suspect killed by police reportedly had a substantial criminal history and was listed as a registered sex offender in Pennsylvania. Gerald Murphy’s background includes arrests for child endangerment, weapons offenses, and robbery, as well as convictions for criminal conspiracy and aggravated assault.
[Top image via Shutterstock]