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.
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.
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.