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Authorities Thought She Died in a 2014 Home Invasion. Now Her Husband Has Been Charged With Murder.

Pilar Melendez
·3-min read
Photos Cassia County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook
Photos Cassia County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook

When Whitney Murphy was found fatally shot in her Idaho home in 2014, authorities thought her death was the tragic result of a home invasion.

Now, six years later, authorities are pointing the finger at her husband—whom they allege murdered the 26-year-old in a staged robbery just weeks after taking out a lucrative $650,000 life insurance policy in her name.

Jimmy Lee Murphy, 32, was slapped with several charges last week, including first-degree murder, in connection with his wife’s October 2014 death, according to the Cassia County Sheriff”s Office. When authorities tried to arrest Murphy outside his mobile home about an hour outside of Twin Falls on Wednesday, he allegedly attempted to flee, forcing officers to tackle and subdue him with a stun gun.

Murphy’s arrest comes after he quit his job at the end of February, stopped answering federal authorities, and started making plans to leave town and adopt the “van life,” he told cops, according to the Idaho Statesman.

This Cali Mom Vanished 2 Months Ago. Her Husband Has Stopped Cooperating.

Court documents obtained by the outlet say investigators arrived at the Murphy residence in October 2014 after receiving a call about a shooting at the home that also left a neighbor wounded. When investigators arrived they found Whitney Murphy dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.

At the time, investigators believed the 26-year-old had come home and interrupted an armed robbery in progress, though nothing was missing aside from Murphy’s shotgun. Notably, court documents state, the couple’s portable safe that contained $30,000, Whitney’s purse, and other firearms were still in the house.

Authorities now believe the firearm, which was never recovered, was used in the slaying.

Murphy told police that he found his wife fatally shot at their home after going to wash his truck and run an errand for his boss. His boss, however, denied telling Murphy to “water the farm” that day, according to the Statesman.

Court documents state investigators later found a text message Murphy sent to his wife the night of the murder telling her to come “straight home” because they were “going to have sex tonight.” According to the Idaho State Journal, Murphy’s text messages to his wife were unusual because other messages between the couple indicated that he wasn’t sexually interested in her.

Murphy allegedly had shotgun residue on his hands when he was initially interviewed by police, which he at first claimed was from shooting pigeons earlier that day. But he later changed his story, saying he actually didn’t go hunting and didn’t even own a hunting license. He didn’t offer any explanation as to why the residue was found on his hand.

Teen Accused of Killing Disabled Sister as Parents Slept

Under questioning, Murphy’s story continued to unravel, court documents state, and he ultimately admitted to cheating on Whitney after they had several fights. Murphy also said he struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Authorities allege that Murphy took out a $650,000 life insurance policy on his wife just weeks before she was murdered. The insurance company denied Murphy's claim after his death, and he then refused to pay for her funeral.

Three days after his wife’s death, a relative of the 26-year-old allegedly confronted Murphy at a local store about the incident—and accused him of murder.

“Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t,” Murphy allegedly told his wife’s relative, according to court documents.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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