Man Guilty of Sexual Assault, Abuse of Wheaton Woman and Infant
A DuPage County jury found a 37-year-old convicted sex offender guilty of sexually assaulting a woman and her five-month-old daughter in her Wheaton apartment in 2005.
A man serving a 30-year-sentence for a sex crime is now guilty of another sexual assault in a 2005 attack against a woman and her five-month-old daughter in Wheaton, a DuPage County jury decided Friday.
James P. Murphy, 37, formerly of Oak Forest, is guilty of more than 20 counts of home invasion, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and predatory criminal sexual assault.
According to prosecutors, Murphy entered the window of an apartment on College Avenue around 2 a.m. in late August of 2005 and forced his victim to undress while he photographed and sexually assaulted her. He then forced the woman to perform a sex act on her infant daughter while he took photos.
Murphy was connected to the Wheaton crime after his arrest in a similar Cook County case in 2006, when he was convicted for an assault against a Chicago woman. The Wheaton victim identified Murphy, who wore a ski mask and gloves during the attack, in a lineup following his arrest in 2006 based on his eyes and a distinctive dimple on his chin, according to prosecutors.
"She will never forget those eyes," Assistant States Attorney Mike Pawl said during closing arguments Friday afternoon.
Assistant Public Defender Brian Jacobs said the State lacked physical evidence that proved Murphy's guilt and had appealed to the "passions of the jury" in its argument against him.
"The state has not proven this case beyond reasonable doubt," he said. "You don't prove a case by enflaming the passions of the jury."
Assistant State's Attorney Cathy De La Mar said Friday that evidence against Murphy included his I-PASS records—which showed he was near Wheaton around the time of the attack, a written confession in a letter to his ex-fiancee and a parking ticket he received near the victim's apartment days before the attack.
"The evidence putting him in her apartment is overwhelming," she said.
Murphy wrote in a letter to his ex-fiancee, "'yes, it was me,'" regarding the attack and, "'For some reason, I have feelings of hatred and rage (toward) women, and I don't know where it comes from,'" De La Mar told the jury.
She added that the similarities in evidence in the Wheaton and Chicago attacks are "undeniable and distinctive." In both incidents Murphy wore a mask and gloves, took photos of his victims and ordered them to shower after the assaults, according to prosecutors.
Murphy is currently serving his sentence at the Stateville Correctional Center and is listed as a sexual predator on the Illinois sex offender registry. The most serious of the charges—predatory criminal sexual assault of a child—is a Class X felony that brings with it a sentence of 6 to 30 years.
Murphy will appear in court for sentencing Monday, June 18.