Arson, murder trial ends 1st week with inmate, and DNA expert testimony

JEFFERSON COUNTY — The arson and murder trial of a 27-year-old Chicago man recessed for the holiday weekend, but jurors were directed to return to the Jefferson County Courthouse on Tuesday, September 6, to hear another week of evidence and testimony in the case against Steven Murphy.

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

Jurors on Friday heard DNA expert testimony indicating Murphy had sexual contact with Tamara Malin at some point the night of her murder.

Prosecutors claim Murphy strangled Malin in her Mt. Vernon home the night of June 28, 2015, and then set fire to the home with Malin’s body still inside.

On Thursday the jury heard from Steven Collier, a former inmate of the Jefferson County Jail who was housed in the same cell block with Murphy.

Collier testified he heard Murphy telling another inmate about raping and murdering Malin in her home, before setting fire to the residence to hide the crime.

Collier, who pleaded guilty this summer in connection to the December armed robbery of Times Square Liquors in Mt. Vernon, said Murphy regularly bragged about killing Malin and burning her home.

The defense questioned Collier’s credibility Thursday, suggesting his statements were made in exchange for a lighter sentence in his own robbery case. It was noted that Collier not only agreed to cooperate in the Malin case, but also in other robbery cases and in the Cortez Pickett murder case.