Mary Ann Murphy and Don Murphy had nurtured their children with profound love and attention, aspiring for the very best for them. They had extended their support to the utmost extent of their capabilities and beyond. When Keri Murphy, their daughter, contacted the police, reporting that her mother had been attacked by strangers, no one anticipated that she was involved in the attack. The documentary ‘Vengeance: Killer Families: Parental Guidance’ delves into the circumstances preceding Mary Ann’s murder and explores the individuals who collaborated with Keri in the heinous act.
How Did Mary Ann Murphy Die?
At approximately 1 a.m. on July 16, 2012, Keri Murphy contacted the police using a neighbor’s phone, reporting an intrusion into her home in Humble, Texas, and an attack on her mother. She claimed to have heard her mother scream. Meanwhile, her father, Don Murphy, was working night shifts at a machine shop, and her brother, Scott Murphy, had relocated and lived a few blocks away from the house. Subsequently, Keri contacted her father and brother, both of whom arrived at the house before the police did. Upon entering the house, the police discovered 48-year-old Mary Ann Murphy in her room, lying in her bed with approximately 70 stab wounds covering her entire body. Unfortunately, she was pronounced dead at the scene, prompting an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.
Who Killed MaryAnn Murphy?
The police initiated their investigation under the assumption of a home invasion, given the presence of a broken window on the back door of the house. However, they soon realized that the window provided no feasible entry point, and there were no other indications of forced entry. Suspecting that the burglary might have been staged, the police shifted their focus to individuals close to Mary Ann Murphy. Both her husband, Don Murphy, and her son, Scott Murphy, had solid alibis. Additionally, the investigation uncovered an affair Mary Ann was involved in with a man named Mike, who could establish that he was not present at the crime scene.
The police directed their focus on Keri Murphy, discovering that her relationship with her mother was strained. Mary Ann desired for Keri to make decisions about her life, a prospect Keri seemed uncertain about. The primary source of conflict between mother and daughter centered around Keri’s association with a girl named Rebecca Keller. Mary Ann disapproved of Rebecca’s companionship, expressing concern over the company she kept. Additionally, Mary Ann thought Rebecca, being 19 years old, was too old for her 16-year-old daughter. Observing what she perceived as an unhealthy obsession, Mary Ann insisted that Keri distance herself from Rebecca.
When faced with the prospect of a polygraph test, Keri admitted to arranging for a classmate, Zein Ahmed, to come to her home with a knife to intimidate her mother and persuade her to let Keri and Rebecca be. On the night of the murder, Keri opened the door for Zein, and later, when she checked the room, she claimed to have witnessed Zein straddling her mother and repeatedly stabbing her. Overwhelmed, Keri then contacted the police. Subsequently, Zein was taken into custody, and he corroborated Keri’s account. However, there were still inconsistencies in the narrative that raised questions for the investigators.
Zein’s parents strongly asserted that he was at home during the time of the murder. Upon examining the time stamp of the video game he was playing, the police confirmed that Zein was indeed at home and could not have been involved in the crime. The police suggested that Zein’s confession might have been a result of not fully comprehending the circumstances and implications of the crime.
Facing a dead end, the police stumbled upon a crucial piece of evidence that provided the complete picture. It was revealed that Keri had a separate phone she used to communicate with Rebecca after her mother had confiscated her primary phone. Mary Ann had taken this action upon discovering explicit messages exchanged between Rebecca and Keri.
Rebecca confessed to the police that Keri had urgently called her after committing the murder, and she had arrived at the house to assist in cleaning and providing support. According to Rebecca, the two of them collaborated in staging the burglary. Furthermore, she disclosed that it was Keri’s suggestion to shift the blame onto Zein, their high school acquaintance but the police did not believe her entirely.
The police discovered a significant volume of calls and text messages exchanged between Rebecca and Keri, particularly on the day and night of the murder. Further investigation into the home computer revealed internet searches, including inquiries like “quickest way to kill a person.” Based on this evidence, the police concluded that both Rebecca and Keri had collaborated in planning and carrying out the murder. It became apparent that they had also taken the time to stage the burglary scene, given that the blood on Mary Ann had coagulated by the time the police arrived at the scene. Both Keri and Rebecca were charged with the murder of Mary Ann Murphy and were arrested.
Where are Rebecca Keller and Keri Murphy Now?
Despite not initially knowing which of them, Rebecca or Keri, had committed the murder, the situation became clearer in the months preceding the trial. While Rebecca was incarcerated without bail during this period, the two continued to maintain contact and frequently spoke on the phone. Law enforcement, monitoring their calls, overheard a conversation in which Keri disclosed to Rebecca that she had entered the room and witnessed her stabbing her mother. This revelation led the police to conclude that it was Rebecca who had killed Mary Ann Murphy.
Due to the seriousness of the crime, Keri was tried as an adult in court. In December 2012, both Keri and Rebecca opted for plea deals that resulted in reduced sentences. Rebecca received a 60-year sentence, and Keri received a 30-year sentence. Presently, Rebecca, aged 31, is serving her sentence at the William P. Hobby Unit, with parole eligibility scheduled for 2042. Keri, who is currently 26 years old, is incarcerated at the Christina Melton Crain Unit and is eligible for parole in 2028.