Murphy
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Melissa and Vinnie Murphy tragically lost their children, Noah, 7, and Sophia, 5, when they were allegedly murdered by their older brother.

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A Colorado Springs man accused of fatally stabbing his 5-year-old sister and 7-year-old brother is headed to trial claiming insanity.

A judge Monday scheduled a Feb. 18 trial for Malik Murphy, 21, setting up a showdown in court more than two years after the October 2017 stabbing spree that killed brother Noah, 7, and sister Sophia, 5.

Their father, Jefferson “Vinny” Murphy, was also stabbed while wrestling his son to the floor.

Murphy was a student at Pikes Peak Community College at the time.

He told Colorado Springs police he planned to kill his entire family and bury them in the backyard, raising questions about his mental health.

Although Murphy has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, state psychiatrists concluded he was “completely sane” at the time of the attacks, a judge said — an opinion that will be admissible in court, leaving his attorneys fighting an uphill battle.

'I can't stop thinking of killing people,' mentally ill brother of slain siblings told Colorado Springs police

State law allows attorneys for Murphy to obtain a competing evaluation, but public defender Adam Steigerwald said no qualified provider was willing to perform the assessment for the rates paid by the state.

Colorado Springs man held in deadly stabbings of siblings, 5 and 7, 'completely sane' at time, state experts find

The defense appears poised to argue that Murphy didn’t “intend” to commit the crimes, in hopes of getting a lesser conviction than first-degree murder, avoiding its automatic sentence of life in prison without parole.

Murphy is being held without bond at the El Paso County jail, records show. His parents were in attendance but did not glance in his direction during the hearing.

Reporter

I cover legal affairs for The Gazette, with an emphasis on the criminal courts. Tips to lance.benzel@gazette.com

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