Taped phone call for 911 aid played in Murphy pretrial motions

February 02, 1994|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Sun Staff Writer

A tape recording of an anonymous caller asking a 911 operator to send police and an ambulance to the home of William H. Murphy Jr. was played yesterday as pretrial motions continued in the prominent lawyer's wife-beating case.

"There is a woman there that has been beat up pretty bad by her husband, and her nose is bleeding and her head is busted, from what I understand," said the caller, later identified as Mrs. Murphy's brother, Lyle Roberts. "The husband is not allowing her to call the . . . police or an ambulance. He is trying to handle it himself, and I don't think he can."

Prosecutors want to play the tape when Mr. Murphy, 50, stands trial on a charge of battering his 29-year-old wife, Kimberly Murphy, last July in their home in the 1000 block of N. Calvert St.

Defense lawyers say the tape of the 911 call -- along with a tape of police radio transmissions that was played for the first time in court yesterday -- should be barred from trial because they contain accusations based on hearsay.

At one point in the radio transmission tape, a police officer can be heard saying: "Yeah, we have a call from a detective here. He needed a backup and he said that you-know-who had beat his wife. He won't let us go upstairs to see her. She's upstairs, and he keeps telling us we can't come in his house."

Defense lawyers also want to bar evidence gathered by police because it was obtained without a search warrant and after Mr. Murphy had told them to leave his property.

Prosecutors are pressing the case even though Mrs. Murphy refuses to testify against her husband and has, through her attorney, said her injuries "were sustained by other means than his conduct."

Police have testified that Mrs. Murphy said outside her home that her husband had hit her and caused her swollen nose and other facial injuries.

The defense also has argued in court papers that police want to humiliate Mr. Murphy because of his pursuit of brutality claims against members of the Baltimore force and for his success in discrediting police testimony in criminal trials.

Sgt. Craig Meier dismissed suggestions that police were unduly interested in the case.

Sergeant Meier did acknowledge that he had telephoned his district commander, Maj. Charles Dickens, upon learning that Mr. Murphy was a suspect.

"The major was called because Mr. Murphy is a well-known, influential man in Baltimore," Sergeant Meier testified.

A police report obtained by The Sun but not mentioned in court shows that Major Dickens had further involvement in the case. He entered a court commissioner's office in which Officer Steven Stuart, who also has testified in the hearing, was attempting to obtain a criminal warrant in the case. Major Dickens told the officer "not to obtain a charging document and to drop the matter all together," according to the report, which is signed by Sergeant Meier.

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