Trina Murphy has already sat through a long murder trial—that for the death of her niece, 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, in 2014. She did not want to do the same for her son. Xavier Murphy, 24, was charged with second-degree murder in the June 22 shooting of his girlfriend Tatiana Wells.
Wells’ family also didn’t want a trial, and they wanted Murphy, who had a child with Wells, to be accountable for her death. That’s why on October 22, Murphy pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and firing a gun in an occupied building. The plea agreement strikes “a reasonable middle ground,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Andrew Wilder.
One of Wells’ family members wept as Wilder read a statement of facts about the incident in room 335 in the Days Inn in Charlottesville. Murphy and Wells had argued, but he told police he did not intend to shoot her in the head with his 9mm semi-automatic gun. Police also said he wanted to kill himself.
The defendant, slight with a goatee wearing black-and-white prison garb, mouthed “I’m sorry” to Wells’ family as he left the courtroom, and he gave a wave to his mother and supporters.
Penalties for voluntary manslaughter range from a minimum of one year to a maximum of 10 years in prison. Murphy will be sentenced February 26.