A case colder than cold: Gary Vincent Murphy

Lady JusticeOne of the tragic things in life is that we are not equal. We may wish that we are equal but we really are not.

Discrimination is part of life and unfortunately, it plays a role in crime solving, in how much media attention is paid to certain cases, and in people’s reactions when they hear who the victim was.

I do not tolerate that. My mind is closed on discrimination. In case you wonder what that means: I don’t discriminate. Period. Not in my off-line life and not in the virtual world. I do not put cold cases on the back-burner because of the victim’s heritage, religion, political affiliation, etc.

Why do I tell you this?

Because I agree with A.C. Thompson that if Gary had not been a biker, if he did not have a felony conviction and, if he had not used drugs, there would have been more attention for his case.

I was alerted to Thompson’s 2004 article in the San Francisco Bay Guardian by my Twitter friend Mike Spencer who used to work on Gary’s case. The article is no longer available online. Spencer told me that Gary’s case is “as cold as cold can be” and that the media has forgotten Gary.

You see, Gary was a father who was butchered less than a week after he had won a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend’s mother. Gary had asked the family courts for the right to raise his daughter alone now that he was gainfully employed, was sober, had kicked his drug habits and, felt confident that he would be a good parent. The courts looked beyond Gary’s past before and saw the changes he had made. They had previously awarded Gary unsupervised visits with his daughter. And they did it again. They awarded Gary custody of his child! Then he was murdered.

Gary was murdered in the halfway house where he had served his sentence. After Gary finished his twelve-step program at that halfway house in 1997, he was hired to manage that halfway house and oversee twelve residents.

If you read Thompson’s article please follow up by reading what Mike Spencer wrote about the case on his blog “Private Eye Confidential.” After I had read both Thompson’s and Spencer’s articles, I wondered about the motive to kill Gary.

Drugs or debts? Possible but too obvious. There would have been some talk on the streets about that. Did someone put a price on Gary’s head? Or, was it is possible that there was a case of mistaken identity? Thompson named Gary’s older brother as a “player in the West Coast drug trade.” Did someone mixed up the brothers? What happened to the older brother and his drug affiliations? Gary’s killing could also have been a warning directed to that older brother. Also, since Gary’s father was a prominent lawyer, is there a possibility for retaliation against the father by killing the son?

This case needs more pondering and more attention. So, if you have any newspaper articles about Gary’s case or, if you knew Gary and have pictures, please contact me so we can post them here. For clarity, Gary Vincent Murphy was born on January 8, 1957 in South Dennis, MA. He was the son of Barbara and Robert Murphy, both deceased. He last lived in the Sunset District, San Francisco, California.