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May 12, 2008
Court overturns murder conviction
New trial ordered for ex-Marine reservist accused in fatal stabbing

By ROBERT GAVIN, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Friday, May 2, 2008

ALBANY -- A former Marine reservist convicted of fatally stabbing a 20-year-old man two years ago will get a new trial, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.
Kevin Murphy, 28, has been serving a 25 years-to-life sentence at Upstate Correctional Facility in Franklin County for the April 30, 2006, slaying of Joseph Jerome during a street fight on Hudson Avenue.

But he'll get a new chance at a freedom following Thursday's ruling by the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court. It found evidence used to convict Murphy -- specifically a phone call he made to his family while being interviewed by police -- should not have been played, in its entirety, at trial.

On Thursday, the second anniversary of the killing, the midlevel court reversed the second-degree murder conviction and sent the case back for a new trial.

Murphy and Jerome did not know each other when their paths crossed after 1 a.m. the morning of the homicide. Albany County Assistant Chief District Attorney Mark Harris, who prosecuted the case, said in 2006 that Murphy "went after" Jerome after being punched in the mouth.

"But the other kid hadn't punched him," Harris added. "And he had nothing to do with punching him."

Police believed Murphy stabbed Jerome once in the chest outside Murphy's Hudson Avenue home that morning. Jerome had been living in Schenectady.

Murphy agreed to speak to police, but their interrogation stopped once he asked for a lawyer. Murphy then spoke to his father and sister on a police phone, and was told the line was being tape-recorded. The 14-minute conversation was used against him at trial, the Appellate Division noted.

While his request for an attorney did not make the evidence unfit for trial, he had repeatedly invoked his right against self-incrimination, the court said, continuing it was "unable to conclude that there is no reasonable possibility that the evidence regarding defendant's invocation of his rights contributed to his conviction."

In addition, the court noted evidence of Murphy's guilt at the trial was "not overwhelming."

Jerome, the father of a young boy, was killed in an area between the College of Saint Rose and the University of Albany's downtown campus. The neighborhood is home to scores of college students, many of whom frequent the bars on Madison and Washington avenues.

At his sentencing, Murphy told Judge Thomas Breslin he acted in self-defense. "I want you to know that Joseph was not killed in cold blood -- his death was an accident," he said. "I have served my country and when called upon to fight the war on terrorism and free the people of Iraq, I went ... now I'll be forced to live like an animal among animals. I ask you to look at the facts of this case."

His appeal was handled by Mitchell Kessler of Cohoes, who could not be reached Thursday. "The decision speaks for itself," said Heather Orth, a spokeswoman for Albany County District Attorney David Soares. "We'll move forward to prosecuting the case again."
How dare yourself
Friday Feb 20
First off, you must not know the real story either. Anyone who knows the types of people who approached Kevin Murphy, would know they had what was coming to them. He had a cast on his arm and had 3 guys approaching him. Having military experience, you should know and encourage the importance of self defense. It is absolutely horrible he died, yes. But they were on his property, end of story
semper fi
Tuesday Feb 24
How dare you wrote:
I went to school in albany, I was friends with Joe Jerome and I grew up with the people around that block.
Now I serve in The Army. The same type of Military that Kevin Served in. There is no Justice in killing anybody, you dont know the whole story. Joe never went up to him and Kevin did not kill Joe on his own property. The other boys were not with Joe that day, they had just met up with him as he was at my friends house.
COLD BLOOD. Joe was killed in COLD BLOOD. Nothing you can say will change that.
Since when is the Army "the same type of military" as the Marine Corp.? If you were there then what did you see? If not, don't try an act like you know the a fellow Marine who served his country killed in "cold blood".
Ashleigh J
1 min ago


his memorial for 2008
JEROME Joseph Dear Joe, Like the sun light that glitters on the water, you were blessed with the most beautiful daughter. For all of those to see, We will always remember Thy! Love Jacqueline and Uncle B.
Published in the Albany Times Union on 4/30/2008
JEROME Joseph Joe, My happy memories of you are lined with pure gold, mine to cherish, mine to hold. With All My Love, Grandma Goff
Published in the Albany Times Union on 4/30/2008
JEROME Joseph Joe, The words big or small are still hard to find. So to tell you how we feel we say we always miss you and you are forever loved. Love Eternity, Ash and Mommy #2
Published in the Albany Times Union on 4/30/2008
JEROME Joseph Joe, Thinking of yesterday will always make us smile, it is living with out you that fills our hearts with sorrow. We Love You Joey, Love Aunt Linda and Lester
Published in the Albany Times Union on 4/30/2008
JEROME Joseph Joe, We were walking together, you by our side, you were our happiness, you were our guide, when we turned to look you were not there, a painful sadness, still hard to bear. We continue to search for you, although we know you are near, you are held in our hearts with a love so dear. We will try to dry our eyes and let you go your way, we just wanted to tell you that you are loved and missed each day. With Each Beat of Our Hearts, You Are Forever Loved, Mom and Dad
Published in the Albany Times Union on 4/30/2008


1 more story to tell

Local Marine Gets 25 Years-to-Life for Albany Murder

Dec 12, 2006 09:43 PM EST

Joseph Jerome
Kevin Murphy
An area Marine Corps reservist will spend 25 years-to-life in prison for murder.

26-year-old Kevin Murphy was sentenced in Albany County Court Tuesday morning. He maintains it was self-defense, but he will lose his freedom for stabbing 20-year-old Joseph Jerome of Schenectady last April.

Prosecutors say the men did not know each other when they got into an early morning argument on April 30th that spun out of control. Jerome's family says Murphy has failed to show remorse.

"His pride was hurt," says Amy Hempstead, Joseph's mother-in-law. "He wanted to show how much of a big man he is...well he's a big man alright, 'cause now he's gonna go play with the big boys."

"One, it was an accident," Murphy's attorney, E. Stewart Jones says. "And two, that he was simply defending himself against three individuals because he had one arm...the other was in a cast, and he believed his life was in danger."

Jones says an appeal will be filed, since he was not allowed to present a self-defense argument to the jury.

these are the pages of joe's murderer and these are his memorials

Army reservist facing murder charge
Updated: 5/1/2006 5:49 PM
By: Capital News 9 Staff

Albany police have arrested a reserve soldier for the murder of a Schenectady man.

Kevin Murphy, 26, of Albany is charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Joseph Jerome, 20. Police said the two got into an argument early Sunday morning in front of Murphy's apartment house on Hudson Avenue.

Murphy, who is an Army reservist, is accused of stabbing Jerome once in the chest. The weapon has not been recovered.

According to police, the two men didn't know each other, and it is not clear what sparked the argument. The neighborhood is full of students, and some who live there claim the streets can get a little out of hand.


  Murder arrest

An Army reservist has been charged with murder after a man was stabbed early Sunday morning in Albany.


Resident Mike Trustey said, "It's usually pretty rowdy around here. You know, a lot of people drinking all the time. Not too many families on this block."

Murphy was arraigned and sent to Albany County Jail without bail.



Loved ones remember Joseph Jerome
5/3/2006 2:39 AM
By: Capital News 9 Web Staff

Loved ones paid their last respects to the victim of a stabbing in Albany over the weekend.

Funeral services were held Wednesday morning for Joseph Jerome, 20, of Schenectady.

Tuesday night, family members returned to the spot where he was murdered in honor of his memory. They also gave thanks to the Albany Police Department for their quick work in the case.
  Remembering Joseph Jerome

Loved ones paid their last respects to the victim of a stabbing in Albany over the weekend.



Investigators said Army reservist Kevin Murphy, 26, stabbed Jerome during an argument on Hudson Avenue. According to police, the two men didn't know each other.

Jerome's family is asking for donations for his young daughter. Donations can be made at any local Trustco Bank.




 6:44 pm


 Murphy found guilty of murder
10/17/2006 4:24 PM
By: Web Staff


An Army reservist from Albany has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a Schenectady man.
Kevin Murphy, 25, was on trial for the stabbing death of Joseph Jerome, 20, back in April.
Police said the two got into a fight in front of Murphy's apartment on Hudson Avenue on April 30. Jerome died after he was stabbed in the chest.
Murphy faces 25-years-to-life in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 12.


Man gets 25 to life in stabbing death
Judge ignores Marine reservist's plea for leniency in April slaying 
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 
Correction: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly mischaracterized the relationship of Amy Hempstead to murder victim Joseph Jerome. She is the mother of the woman he was engaged to marry.

ALBANY -- A Marine reservist insisted he acted in self-defense as he was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life for the April 30 fatal stabbing of Joseph Jerome.
"I want you to know that Joseph was not killed in cold blood -- his death was an accident," said Kevin Murphy, 26. "My nights are filled with nightmares, when I can sleep at all."

He touted his military service and community standing before Albany County Judge Thomas A. Breslin.
"I have served my country and when called upon to fight the war on terrorism and free the people of Iraq, I went," Murphy went on, in an unusually long statement to the court. "Now I'll be forced to live like an animal among animals. I ask you to look at the facts of this case."
Breslin, however, was unmoved, imposing the potential life sentence.
"You come in here and say you are remorseful, that history will look at you as a hero," Breslin said. "The jury screamed just the opposite. You are a murderer."
Earlier this fall, Murphy was convicted of second-degree murder for the street fight on Hudson Avenue that left Jerome, 20, the father of a 3-year-old, dead.
Albany County Assistant District Attorney Mark Harris read the words of Jerome's mother, Janet Morrison, who articulated the pain of losing her only child.
"I can see Joey holding his chest, in excruciating pain, and falling to the filthy sidewalk while Kevin Murphy stood over his body," she wrote. "It is a devastation so destructive it has crippled my emotions."
Outside the courtroom, attorney E. Stewart Jones pledged to appeal Murphy's case because he said his client wasn't allowed to argue self-defense.
Murphy's family traveled from Long Island for the early-morning hearing. His parents sobbed as their son was led away. Murphy's girlfriend, Michele Guglielmi, had a statement prepared.
"If you only knew the person I knew and love, you too would realize he is not a criminal," she said. "Kevin is the type of guy that breaks up fights, not starts them. He is the type of guy his friends look up to, not down upon. This incident was your typical wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time situation."
Amy Hempstead, mother of Jerome's fiance, disagreed.
"He was cocky,"she said. "He's not a hero. My daughter is devastated. His mother is devastated. There's not a day that goes by that we don't think about Joey." 

ALBANY -- Joseph Jerome was a changed man when he left a prison boot camp.
The 20-year-old father had seen trouble before, but during his last time behind bars he said he found solace in God.

had the praying hands of Jesus tattooed on his arm on April 29, the day he left a temporary Scotia home and returned to his family in Albany.

Within 24 hours, he was dead -- fatally stabbed in the heart by a stranger as he displayed the new, elaborate artwork to a young woman he had just met on the street.

Jerome's rosary beads lay in his pocket as his life ebbed away on the sidewalk in front of Kevin Murphy's Hudson Avenue home.

This morning, two families facing tragedy will meet in an Albany County courtroom. Those who loved Jerome will see Murphy, a 26-year-old Marine Corps reservist, sentenced to 25 years to life behind bars.

Murphy's family and girlfriend say they will insist to the end that the wrong man has been convicted.

All Janet Morrison knows is that her only child, Jerome, is gone. The flow of her tears threatens to drown her.

"This sentencing will never ease my pain or bring Joey back," Morrison said. "I have to get used to that fact, and believe he is in heaven."

"He was a city child, and he did get in trouble," she admitted. "But when he came home, he did everything he had promised. He would get a job, his GED."

Now her 3-year-old granddaughter is fatherless, something that just doesn't make sense to her. "He told me, 'Ma, I'll never hang with those kids again,' " Morrison said.

But the lure of the old crowd prevailed. And on his first night back with them, he was killed.

"He loved animals and nature and was a country boy trapped in the city," Morrison said. "He didn't want to stay in Albany because of the violence. I wonder sometimes if he knew his life would be short."

Although her heart is broken, Morrison said she has compassion for the Murphys. "I'm not a hateful person. Whoever thinks that their child is going to murder another? If it was vice versa, I would have been devastated."

The Murphy family is devastated, said Kevin Murphy's sister, Marie Ilardi. Not only for Janet Morrison's loss but for its own.

"Kevin is the middle child in a family of five and as we have grown older, he has become one of my closest friends as well," Ilardi said. "My whole family is reeling from, not only the trial, but the whole incident of last spring."

Defense lawyer E. Stewart Jones said Murphy sealed his fate earlier this fall when he refused to allow the jury to consider a lesser charge of manslaughter. Ilardi said she doubts the judge would have allowed it.

One witness testified that Jerome fell on the knife Murphy was holding during the sidewalk melee that night, Ilardi said. The street was teeming with college students and many were drinking.

Her brother, she said, is not a criminal, but a veteran who served his country. He was also struggling with a broken wrist and had lost his glasses during the fight.
He was defending himself against three people while he was disabled, nearly blind and disoriented from his head hitting the ground," she said. "The only reason he was able to defend himself was, I think, because he was a trained U.S. Marine."
Murphy wishes he could turn back the clock, Ilardi said. "But he still feels, to this day, that he was in fear for his life. He spent the better part of the summer telling me how horrible he felt, especially after finding out that Joseph Jerome was an only child for his mother and had a young child of his own."


Joseph Jerome's Obituary

Jerome, Joseph Scott



  • ALBANY Joseph Scott Jerome, age 20, died tragically Sunday, April 30, 2006. Born in Schenectady and educated in Albany, N.Y., Joseph was employed by Mobil on State Street in Schenectady. Survivors include his beloved daughter, Jacqueline Lee Jerome of Albany; his devoted mother, Janet and Bobby Morrison of Albany; father, Leonard A. Jerome Jr. of Rensselaer; brother of Leonard A. Jerome III; grandson of Marie Goff of Feura Bush, N.Y., Steven Goff of Durham, N.Y., Patricia Jerome of Rensselaer and the late Leonard A Jerome Sr.; nephew of Linda Goff of Albany, Kristine (Milt) Goff of East Durham, William Goff of Durham, Mary and James Palmer Sr. and Thomas and Rose Jerome Sr. of Rensselaer; cousin of Jessica, Joshua, Brandon Goff, Nicholas, Jarred, Erika Cook and Greg Roe. Thomas Jr., Jennifer, Tasha Jerome, James Jr., Trisha, Zachary Palmer. Joseph loved spending time with his 2 1/2 year old daughter and beloved girlfriend, Ashleigh Hempstead. Services will be Wednesday afternoon at 1 o'clock from the Rockefeller Funeral Home, 165 Columbia Tpk., Rensselaer. Friends are invited and may call Wednesday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. immediately prior to the funeral. Interment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, East Greenbush. The family has requested that those who wish, make memorial contributions to the Jacqueline Jerome Trust Fund in memory of her father at Trustco Bank, 163 Central Ave., Albany, NY 12206.

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