BLACKSTONE (CBS) – A judge found Erika Murray not guilty of second degree murder and reckless endangerment of a child after she was charged with killing two infants and severely neglecting her other children inside a squalid Blackstone home. Murray was found guilty of assault and battery on a child and cruelty to animals.
Judge Janet Kenton Walker announced the verdicts Thursday morning. Walker listened to eight days of testimony during the trial.
In addition to the murder verdict, Murray was found guilty on two counts of assault and battery on a child and two counts of cruelty to animals.
“This case involves a senseless, tragic story about a dysfunctional parent and her family. Regardless of how disturbing the facts of this case are to the community at large and to me as a parent, I cannot take into account those feelings,” said Walker.
Murray will be sentenced on July 11. Her bail was revoked until that court appearance.
While announcing the reckless endangerment of a child not guilty verdict, Walker said Murray suffered from a combination of personality disorder and abuse by her live-in boyfriend, who is the father of the children. Walker said Murray was “isolated” and “belittled” by her boyfriend.
“She was not conscious or aware of how bad things had become,” Walker said.
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early issued this statement on the verdicts:
This was a very hard case with a very difficult set of facts as it always is when dealing with children who are victims. It has emotionally affected many people throughout Worcester County. We appreciate all the time and effort the judge put into her decision in this case. The court has spoken. I would like to thank the Blackstone Police Department, the State police detectives and all of the state police employees who worked so hard on this case. And also, I’d like to thank our prosecutor Chris Hodgens for all his hard work.
State Police discovered the bodies in September 2014 while performing a wellness check. They say the house was full of trash and infested with insects and rodents. Prosecutors argued Murray knew what she was doing and lived a life of secrecy.
Walker dropped one of the two murder charges against Murray during the trial, saying there wasn’t enough evidence that one of those babies was born alive.
Murray’s attorney said previously his client is mentally ill and that there’s no evidence she caused the baby’s death.
“This was a challenging case from the very beginning, but it has been most difficult for the children involved in this horrific situation. We also hope that with the end of this case, our community, which was shocked to our very core, can find closure,” acting Blackstone Police Chief Gregory Gilmore said in a statement.