Jury selection underway in Mt. Vernon arson/murder trial

JEFFERSON COUNTY — A Jefferson County jury is scheduled to be selected this morning for the trial of a 27-year-old Chicago man accused of arson and murder in connection with the death of a Mt. Vernon woman.

Steven Murphy (Source: MVPD)
Steven Murphy
(Source: MVPD)

Steven Murphy was initially charged in 2015 with aggravated arson and residential arson for a June 28, 2015 fire at the 301 Harrison Street home of Tamara Malin, who firefighters found dead inside and near the door of the home.

On July 1, Mt. Vernon police arrested Murphy on a charge of obstructing justice for providing false information related to the investigation. Murphy was taken to the Jefferson County Justice Center on a $50,000 bond.

He was then charged with aggravated arson and residential arson on Tuesday, Sept. 22, and bail was set at $250,000.

Murphy was initially scheduled for a June 28 jury trial in the arson case, but was charged in May with two counts first-degree murder alleging he strangled Malin to death before setting fire to her home. Bail in that case was set at $1 million.

After the murder charges were filed, prosecutors elected to drop the original obstruction charge and the arson and murder cases were quickly joined together. They are scheduled to be tried this week in Jefferson County Court.