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Police say Stony Point slaying suspect gave conflicting accounts

The 911 call that alerted officers to the Oct. 25 shooting at a residence on Stony Point Road came from the woman who stands accused of murdering 53-year-old author and arts provocateur Matthew S. Farrell.

Two newly filed search warrant affidavits indicate that during her morning telephone call to emergency services, Shawna Marie Murphy said that she had shot Farrell, her boyfriend and housemate.

“I had to,” she told the 911 operator, according one affidavit. “He was trying to kill me.”

Yet minutes later, according to an affidavit, during that same phone call, Murphy allegedly exclaimed, “I really didn’t mean to kill him.”

When officers went into the home in search of Farrell, they initially couldn’t find him, an affidavit indicates. They found his body lying in bed underneath several blankets, according to an affidavit.

“It wasn’t until [the officer] began peeling the layers of blankets back that Farrell was eventually located,” an affidavit said.

Farrell had been shot once in the back of the head.

While a .45 caliber handgun was observed in the living room next to a single spent cartridge, officials processing Murphy for intake at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail found her with 9mm ammunition in her blood-stained clothing, according to an affidavit.

Why such ammunition was not detected during her arrest was not explained. But that discovery, along with a statement from the victim’s father that his son owned a holstered 9mm SIG P320 pistol, launched a second search warrant to scour the property for a 9mm weapon. The first search warrant sought DNA evidence.

Timestamps indicate that the two search warrants were filed at the Albemarle County Courthouse on Monday, Oct. 31 and were first publicly described that afternoon by WINA radio reporter Courteney Stuart.

An additional revelation in the affidavits was that Murphy—a self-styled “street performer”—had been conducting a livestream on her laptop computer when officers arrived at 8:24 a.m. on Oct. 25.

Murphy’s court-appointed attorney, public defender Nicholas J. Reppucci, has said he’ll have no comment on the case. His client’s next public appearance is a Dec. 12 status hearing.


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