Family, former friends react to news of Robin Murphy’s parole

The reaction to Robin Marie Murphy‘s pending release from prison after 24 years, although wide-ranging, has been mostly negative.

The State Parole Board recently granted Murphy parole. Along with codefendant Carl Drew, she was convicted of the ritualistic slaying of Karen Marsden in 1980, but was also believed to have taken part in two similar killings — of young prostitutes Doreen Levesque and Barbara Ann Raposa — in and around Fall River in 1979 and 1980.

Marsden’s surviving sister, Wendy Alves, was so upset by Monday’s news that she had to leave work early to deal with the trauma of knowing the woman responsible for her sister’s demise will soon be back on the streets.

“All I’m thinking is that this is just not fair,” a tearful Alves said. “This is an insult to my sister. I thought you had to rehabilitate yourself to get out of jail, but she won’t even tell the truth about what happened that night.

“I can’t believe that Robin gets to go home. When does my sister Karen get to come home?”

Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh was not in his office to comment on Murphy’s release, but Assistant District Attorney Ray Veary who helped prosecute Andre Maltais for the Raposa murder and used Murphy as a witness to do so, said he was “disappointed by the board’s vote.”

Others, who were previously close friends with Murphy, were also shocked by the board’s decision.

Maureen “Sunny” Sparda, a city resident who was close to both Murphy and Carl Drew in the late 1970s, said she “knows” Murphy is a “serial killer” and can’t believe she will soon be a regular citizen again.

“Although it was probably a mistake, I kind of knew Robin would find her way out of jail,” Sparda said. “She’s a genius that girl. I will never take that away from her.”

Sparda, like many others, believes Murphy was the brains behind many slayings in the area at the time.

Murphy was the one who led police to believe that a blood-thirsty cult was operating in Fall River and helped to put two men behind bars for life, Sparda said.

“She told me back then that she had killed all three of them,” Sparda explained Monday. “I’ll never believe her new story that she made it all up. Only God knows what’s in her heart, but I know she has shown no remorse and that should really show somebody that something is still very wrong with her.”

Sparda, although not close to Marsden, did speak fondly of her Monday.

“Karen was a sweet, lovely, good person who didn’t deserve this mess,” Sparda said. “The parole board is basically telling us it’s OK to go around killing people when you’re young, because you’ll just get out later in life anyways.

“I really feel sad about this and I’m scared for a lot of other people now, including myself,” Sparda said. “She never got the help she needed and now she’s going to be back out in society. I’m a little nervous about this whole thing.”

While Marsden’s family attempts to come to grips with the board’s recent decision, a local private investigator who was hired by an attorney to investigate the Raposa murder says he is concerned that the Satanic cult he said he witnessed performing rituals firsthand two decades ago could be reorganized in and around Fall River.

“You know if she gets out and then Carl Drew gets out, the whole bunch of them may get back together and start again,” said private investigator John Perry. “Robin was behind all three murders, but I also believe Sparda may have been pulling the strings.

“It’s going to be very interesting. All I know is that they better keep a close eye on Robin and the people she may be with. There’s potential for real danger here. That girl is like ice.”

Perry also noted that the current situation could have been avoided if former prosecutors from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office had done their jobs 24 years ago by not offering Murphy a deal for potential parole.

“The former District Attorney Ronald Pina didn’t know what he was doing at the time,” Perry said. “All he wanted to do was get in front of a camera.”

Perry’s claims of mistakes made by prosecutors run parallel to Drew’s recent motion for a new trial.

In Drew’s motion, his attorney, Michael Cutler, presents allegations of prosecutorial misconduct and has sworn affidavits to back those claims up.

Three women, including Sparda, have all signed sworn affidavits stating they were each coerced into either falsely testifying against Drew or in Sparda’s case, not testifying at all.

The three women all say former District Attorney Ronald Pina and former Assistant District Attorney David Waxler threatened criminal charges or family difficulties if they did not make up stories that prove Drew was the cult-leading murderer Murphy initially claimed he was.

Cutler has already been given the court’s permission to use the transcripts of Murphy’s recent statements to the parole board and said Monday that if needed, he will subpoena her to testify at Drew’s upcoming evidentiary hearing.

“The judge has certainly shown interest in the transcripts of her statements,” Cutler said after learning of Murphy’s impending release. “I must say that the board’s decision is a big surprise, but I also see the decision as a very positive thing for Carl Drew.

“I just don’t see a downside to this for Carl Drew. At the very least, her comments and her release will be useful to us.”

Upon her release from MCI-Framingham May 15, Murphy will be required to undergo random drug and alcohol screenings, must routinely report to her parole officer, can have no contact with Marsden’s family, must have mental health counseling and participate in substance abuse counseling.

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