Domestic donnybrook ends with dad’s death


It started with what police described as a troubled man’s trip to the hospital one night last August. It ended with his death less than a month later.

But police say there’s more to the story.

It could all come down to what police described as an alcohol-fueled bloody brawl between a father and son involving a baseball bat.

Police responded to a call Aug. 21 about an emotionally disturbed man at 5467 Fieldston Road a little after 8 p.m. There they found a “disoriented” 75-year-old man — later identified as John Murphy — who lived at that address. He was taken to Montefiore Medical Center, where he was admitted for further treatment.

It wasn’t enough, apparently, as by Sept. 12, Murphy died. During a post-mortem examination, however, doctors felt there was something wrong. He had brain injuries, according to 50th Precinct deputy inspector Terence O’Toole, and the medical examiner reached out to police.

That led authorities to the man’s son, 46-year-old Brian Murphy of 306 W. 102nd St., who told police that when they were called to his father’s home in August, the two of them had been fighting. “Some physical stuff back and forth,” O’Toole said, with the claim the older Murphy hit his son with a bat.

Both father and son appeared to be intoxicated when officers responded at the time, O’Toole said, and the father even had difficulty getting dressed before he was taken to the hospital.

While John Murphy headed to the hospital, Brian Murphy at some point checked himself into rehab, O’Toole said.

After John Murphy died the morning of Sept. 10, the medical examiner tipped off police, who then searched his Fieldston Road apartment looking for the bat. Authorities found not one, but two baseball bats, as well as blood-stained beddings.

Police also interviewed Murphy’s other children, O’Toole said — a daughter and another son — who both said their father “never drank at all, was not an alcoholic, really wasn’t a drinker.”

As soon as Brian Murphy was released from rehab, investigators were there to question him. The younger Murphy admitted to fighting his father, O’Toole said, and a push caused the older man to hit his head on the wall.

Some details are still sketchy, but the younger Murphy may have been struggling with an alcohol problem, O’Toole said, and may have been looking for a place to stay temporarily. For that, at least, he turned to his father.

“But they didn’t really get along,” O’Toole said.

Brian Murphy was charged with manslaughter, aggravated criminally negligent homicide and assault.