Charges held for court in boy’s death


We’re learning more about an investigation into how a Ridgway boy died, and the search by police for the object that may have been used to kill him.

We were at the preliminary hearing that took more than five hours on Wednesday.

Ridgway police Ofc. Mark Lovell testified they tested both a broomstick handle and a blackjack from the apartment, but the results were unclear.

Police say they found 20 marks under the boy’s scalp at autopsy.

The natural father’s brother, Scott Murphy, 25, and his wife Kristy Murphy, 35, who uses a wheelchair, were taking care of O’Ryan Murphy, 5, who was found dead on Feb. 3, police said.

Police Tpr. Timothy Butler read a laundry list of prescription pills for the couple that police say they found on the coffee table and recliner area.

Scott Murphy’s attorney, Fred Hummel, said Murphy needs the meds for his illnesses of schizophrenia, dissociative personality disorder, ADHD, anxiety disorder, and epilepsy.

Tabia Cole, attorney for natural mom Ashlee Druhot, 23, argued that Druhot didn’t know where the kids were for much of December because dad Daniel Murphy, 26 — wearing orange — had custody, and that all reports Druhot got were the kids were healthy.

But District Judge James Martin pointed to an unedited interview with Druhot played in court from Februrary where she says she was concerned about the couple acting as caregivers because they’d never had children. Reporter Sara Small was called to testify.

CYS case worker Cassie Titchner testified the apartment was actually cold, and dirty, and the 3-year-old also inside was filthy and had feces in his underwear.

Judge Martin criticized the dad for not checking the apartment when he dropped off the two kids.

Titchner said they did get one call from Crawford County CYS about this family in December, but could not find their address in Ridgway.

All charges were held for court.

The aunt and uncle in Ridgway, Scott and Kristy, face homicide charges, and police say they reported O’Ryan kept hitting his head against the wall while in time out.  The mom and dad in Meadville face involuntary manslaughter charges.

Other witnesses were St. Marys police Inv. Gregg McManus, and Ridgway Ambulance volunteer EMR Rick Imhof. Other attorneys taking part were DA Shawn McMahon, Mike Marshall for Daniel Murphy, and Gary Knaresboro for Kristy Murphy.

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