COVINGTON—-A St. Tammany Parish jury on Wednesday (March 11) unanimously found Donald Murphy, 44, of Pearl River, guilty of four counts of production of pornography involving juveniles under 13, one count of computer-aided solicitation of a minor under 17, and one count of unlawful use of a social networking website by a person who is required to register as a sex offender and who was convicted of a sex offense. He faces a sentence of 49.5 years to 198 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea served as the prosecutor. David Ferris of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit investigated the case.
Murphy was arrested on May 23, 2014, after he returned via helicopter from working offshore. Investigators determined that Murphy had persuaded a 12-year-old New York girl whom he’d met on the Internet to send him nude pictures of herself performing various sexual acts. Murphy also had sent the girl nude photos of himself taking a shower and performing a sexual act.
The investigation began when the girl’s father filed a complaint with the Suffolk County Police Department in New York that his daughter was communicating in a sexual manner with an unknown man. An investigator in the department’s Computer Crime unit subsequently discovered more than 4,000 telephone messages between the girl and the suspect via KIK, a free text messaging app, from Nov. 14, 2012, to Jan. 12, 2013. Phone records identified the suspect as Murphy.
The case was turned over to the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, which investigated further and arrested Murphy, who also had been convicted of child pornography by a Naval Court in 2008.
The New York girl, now 14, testified against Murphy during the trial, which began with jury selection Monday (March 9). Murphy’s wife also testified for the prosecution that her husband admitted to the crimes during a recorded telephone conversation with her while he was in jail. The recording was played in court. The jury deliberated for 40 minutes before returning its unanimous verdict on all counts.