Kelli Lynn Murphy found guilty of killing her two kids on dead son's eleventh birthday

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Original post, 6:42 a.m. November 15: Trial is underway in one of the most shocking cases of 2011 -- Castle Rock mom Kelli Lynn Murphy's alleged murder of her two elementary-school-age children. Among the revelations to emerge from early testimony: When police arrived at the tragic scene, Murphy's wrists had been cut.

As we reported last year, a suicidal Murphy called 911 at 7:48 a.m. on May 23, 2011, telling the operator that her kids -- Madigan, six, and Liam, nine -- "are in heaven right now." However, their bodies were in their respective beds. They were dead, but showed no signs of physical injury; the coroner later determined that they'd been asphyxiated.

Now, we also know that Murphy told 911 she'd slit her wrists. According to 9News' trial coverage, one of the officers who responded to the scene had to hold paper towels over the wounds while quizzing her about the kids, who she said were "deceased."

In the days after her arrest, more details emerged about Murphy and her relationship with her husband, Robert Eric Murphy, who goes by his middle name.

At first glance, the family seemed happy. But according to court documents, troubles lurked just below the surface. The couple had filed for divorce, and Kelli took out a civil protection order against Eric in early March, telling frightening tales to back up this request.

One one occasion, she said Madigan had been dawdling at the dinner table after Eric had finished eating. He allegedly responded by grabbed her throat and screaming at her to finish her meal. On another, he was giving Madigan a bath, and when the girl didn't wash the soap off her quickly enough by his standards, Kelli said he seized her by the neck and forced her head under the faucet. She also claimed Eric held her captive in the basement in addition to hitting her with the door. Nonetheless, Kelli asked that the divorce petition be withdrawn on in April 2011; a meeting on the topic was scheduled for the days after Madigan and Liam's deaths. She also had a court appearance on the docket in regard to the restraining order.

The Sunday before the killings, Eric requested that Castle Rock police check on the welfare of the kids. Apparently, nothing was found amiss at that time -- but by the next morning, everything was.

Continue to read more about the start of Kelli Lynn Murphy's trial, including photos and videos.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts