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March 2, 2017

California man, 34, charged in 2007 rape near Catlett

Richard Murphy, 34, of Orange, Calif., faces three felony charges from the August 2007 attack.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
For almost nine years, Fauquier sheriff’s investigators had no suspect in a rape that took place after midnight along a gravel road near Catlett.

But, DNA collected at the scene and other evidence lead to the May 10 arrest of Richard T. Murphy in Orange, Calif., according to authorities.

Sheriff’s Detective Brandon Lillard twice last year visited California to interview Mr. Murphy, collect his DNA and bring him back to Fauquier on Oct. 18.

The 34-year-old former Marine appeared Tuesday afternoon in Fauquier County General District Court to face his accuser and charges of rape, forcible sodomy and penetration with an animate object.

A conviction on each those charges carries a penalty of five years to life in prison, said Commonwealth Attorney James P. Fisher, who will prosecute the case.

Mr. Fisher on March 27 also will ask the grand jury to impose a fourth charge — abduction with intent to defile. Conviction of that charge carries 20 years to life in prison, he said.

For approximately 35 minutes Wednesday, the victim testified about events surrounding her attack on Aug. 18, 2007.

Eighteen years old at the time, she had gone to meet a friend in a Stafford County shopping center, she said.

The victim returned to her car shortly after midnight.

Mr. Murphy then approached her car, she testified.

“He knocked on my window,” recalled the victim, struggling to remain composed during her testimony. “I believe I was on my phone. He asked me if I could give him a ride.”

Mr. Murphy suggested he needed a ride because his friends were “messed up” or “intoxicated,” the victim said.

She agreed and they drove for an hour before turning onto a gravel road off Elk Run Road in Southern Fauquier, where Mr. Murphy allegedly raped and sodomized her.

They had been looking for a home where Mr. Murphy told her he had planned to spend the night, according the victim.

Mr. Murphy left her car to relieve himself, the victim said.

Upon returning to the car, Mr. Murphy told her he had dropped his phone on the ground and asked her to help him find it, according to the victim.

During the search, Mr. Murphy attacked her from behind, choked her, struck her across the face and knocked her to the ground, the victim said.

He also removed the keys from the car’s ignition.

At the Mr. Murphy’s insistence, the victim removed her clothes, after which he raped and sodomized her, she said.

Mr. Murphy and the victim later returned to her car.

With headlights on, a motorist pulled onto the road but backed up after realizing her car blocked the way, the victim said.

She got out of her car to get that driver’s attention — to no avail.

Mr. Murphy and the victim then tussled briefly and left the scene on foot in different directions.

Wearing only a pair of socks, the victim crossed a field toward a distant light, where a family helped her contact the Fauquier’s sheriff’s office.

They had wrapped her in a milking apron until deputies arrived, said Mr. Fischer, the prosecutor.

Mr. Murphy, who did not testify, sat expressionless during the victim’s testimony.

Mr. Fisher asked the victim if she could identify her attacker.

She nodded.

“Would you point him out to the judge?” the prosecutor asked her.

Her eyes filled with tears, the 28-year-old woman shot her left arm and index finger at Mr. Murphy.

He remains in jail.
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