JEFFERSON COUNTY — An August jury trial date has been set in Jefferson County Court for a 26-year-old Chicago man charged with aggravated arson and first-degree murder in connection with the death of a Mt. Vernon woman.
Steven Murphy was initially charged in 2015 with arson for a fire at the 301 Harrison Street home of Tamara Malin, who firefighters found dead inside and near the door of the home.
Murphy was scheduled for a June 28 jury trial in the arson case, but was recently charged with two counts first-degree murder alleging he strangled Malin to death before setting the fire.
Murphy’s attorney quickly filed a motion to join the two cases to be tried at the same time, but that motion was denied as the court could have run afoul of speedy trial rights since Murphy would have then been in custody on the arson charges longer than the statutory 120 days.
A trial date for all charges has now been set for August 23. Murphy remains in the Jefferson County Jail, with bail set at $250,000 on the arson charges and $1 million on the murder charges.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for July 19.