NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches jury sentenced the 36-year-man who went house to house attacking people with a machete in 2012 to 75 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison system Wednesday afternoon.
Nijinski Tywon Murphy, of Nacogdoches got 15 years for one count of aggravated assault. He also got 75 years each for two charges of burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit another felony. The prison sentences will be concurrent, which means Murphy will serve them at the same time.
However, before Murphy can start his concurrent prison sentences, he has to serve out the remainder of an eight-year sentence he is currently serving for an unrelated charge.
Earlier in the sentencing portion of the trial, Murphy became very disruptive. He began to use foul language and even screamed down hallways that God had sent him to Earth to kill Mexicans.
On July 2, 2012 deputies with the Nacogdoches Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the 1700 block of County Road 521 at approximately 5:30 p.m. after receiving several calls about a man going house to house with a machete.
When deputies arrived on the scene, Murphy told them he was the anti-Christ and was marking people. Former Sheriff Thomas Kerss told KTRE News that he assumed Murphy was referring to "the marking of the beast."
Kerss said Murphy broke into at least three residences and assaulted five people. He said the victims suffered various cuts and injuries and one woman suffered a broken arm.
Judge Ed Klein told the 420th Judicial District Court that he had received a phone call from the Nacogdoches County Jail early Wednesday morning with a report that Murphy had been acting out. Murphy refused to put on his civilian clothes, leaving Klein with two choices. Klein said he would return Murphy to the jail or he would have to shackle him to a chair and duct tape his mouth.
Murphy continued to refuse to put his civilian clothes on and wouldn't even put on his sport jacket, which made defense attorney John Boundy very concerned.
"I'm very concerned with how this is going to impact the jury. My concern is that he is going to hear something that makes him mad, and he is going to go in a rage," Boundy said. "He's very angry and agitated with this situation right now. I'm concerned for his best interest right now."
Klein agreed and decided to leave Murphy's handcuffs on, but take his leg shackles off. He told Murphy that if he acted out while the jury was present, he would release him back to the jail.
"If you disagree with the trial, you will have a right to an appeal. But the way we handle these things is through the legal process. You have the right to be here but that right can be taken away if you aren't going to follow the rules," Klein said.
"What's the right to an appeal when I have the 666 invisible? I'm just going to take the 666 invisible, "Murphy said. "I would rather not be up in here if people are going to laugh in my face. What am I going to lose my temper about? I already asked them to give me the max, 99 years. I've already made my deal."
Murphy didn't act out as soon as the sentencing process began.
The state called Adrien Colegio, 19, to the stand.
He said he was the man who followed Murphy to the travel trailer and was horrified when he saw Murphy attack his mother and sister. He says Murphy broke his mother's arm.
"It still hurts me when I see mom asking for help when she can't carry her stuff, and asking me to take her somewhere because she can't do it by herself," Adrien Colegio said.
Julie Colegio, 22, said she was certain she was going to die that night.
"It was horrifying. Just the fact of seeing the person outside your house and the way I pleaded for help and didn't receive it at the time. It was just horrible. It was hard, knowing that any of us could've lost our lives there and knowing that. Just to think of what could happen. There's so many stuff that goes through your mind at that moment," Julie Colegio said.
She said her mom saved her life by putting her arm in front of her, but the memory of it is horrible.
"It was horrible. It was terrifying. I can't imagine and I never thought that would happen to me, or any of my family members. There's so many stories out there, but when you live it, it's completely different. When you live it, it's something that scars you for life. Even though you know justice is served, it's something you have to live with," Julie Colegio said.
Julie Colegio says she didn't want any vengeance on Murphy, but is happy with the punishment.
"We weren't looking for a high sentence, but we are just glad that justice is served, not just for me, but for my mother because she was the one that was hurt the most," Julie Colegio said.
Boundy said Murphy does have a history of mental illness, and confirmed that Murphy was evaluated before the trial began.
"He was examined by a psychiatrist at our request and it was just not deemed that he reached the legal standard for it to be an insanity defense,"Boundy said.
During Tuesday's testimony, Murphy told jurors he heard voices telling him the people he attacked were going to kill him.
Murphy has a history of assault issues and mental illness, and Kerss said it appeared Murphy had suffered from a psychotic episode that triggered the attack.
During Tuesday's testimony, Murphy claimed he doesn't remember how he got the machete.
"I don't know, I don't remember. I just heard voices that day telling me they were going to kill me, crazy stuff," Murphy said.
Murphy said he went into a resident's yard when another man came out of nowhere as if he was "invisible," shrouded by a bright light. He said the man was Latino and had a knife and a gun.
The Latino man slashed him with the knife, so he ran from house to house to get help, Murphy said. He said he approached a travel trailer and was greeted by an older woman. He said he went into the kitchen and that was when she began to push him and attack him.
Murphy claimed another woman inside the home grabbed his foot and tried to pin him down. He said none of the women who testified during Monday's trial were the women who attacked him.
He says he had no choice but to slash the older woman with the machete.
"I whacked her. I whacked her through her arm, right down here. They didn't want to let me out of that house alive," Murphy said.
He said he then turned on the other woman.
"She wouldn't let go of my leg. She unlawfully restrained me," Murphy said. "I whacked her real good. There should've been a deep cut on her."
He said the Latino man followed him to the travel trailer and began to hit him over the head with a 2x4 piece of wood.
Murphy said he believes the people were trying to kill him, and would cut his body into pieces and throw him into a fire saying "he knows that's what they do."
He said he fled the house when a policeman in a cruiser approached him. He dropped the machete in the yard and allowed the officer to arrest him. He was then taken to the hospital.
Boundy showed Murphy several photographs of the homes he allegedly broke into that July night. Murphy testified he didn't recognize any of the homes. He also claimed evidence used in Monday's trial, including police video tapes and 911 calls, were fake.
"Now, Nijinksi, you did tell the jury that you hit several people with a machete, why did you do that?" Boundy said.
"I felt like my life was in danger. I went into (the homes) for protection. I was hoping that someone would call 911. What happened? Why did they not render aid?" Murphy said.
During closing arguments, Boundy urged jurors to do the right thing.
"Bottom line is this, it's your call. You have common sense. You have a good human brain that God gave you. Look at all the evidence; look at your notes," Boundy said. "Remember your testimony. I think you are going to find beyond reasonable doubt that Nijinski Murphy on July 2, 2012 did not intend to hurt anyone and was just asking for help."
Assistant District Attorney Cristin Lane said Murphy intended to harm the residents in the neighborhood and tried to break down one resident's door. When he wasn't able to get to those homeowners, he moved onto the next house and assaulted the older woman with the machete in hand.
Lane said she does not believe Murphy's story of recalling the events on the day of his arrest. She says the evidence is in the police video.
"You heard him. 'I'm the anti-Christ. I'm coming after you,'" Lane said.
Lane painted the picture of scared residents fending off an intruder with a weapon. She says all the residents were trying to defend themselves and would do anything to protect their families. She says Murphy's story of being attacked is a fabrication. She says Murphy did the attacking.
Lane referred to the 911 tape and says it is even hard for her to listen to it because you can hear the families screaming.
"The line went dead because the families were fighting for their lives," said Lane.
She said the families had cuts, broken arms, and one witness even told her that Murphy held her head back with the intent to chop her head off.
She says Murphy's testimony is not credible.
"I can't explain why the things that happened that day did. But it did. You can look at the picture's, you can look at the people who came over to talk to you. Look at all these. My position is that I am seeking justice. That's my job. I don't go for convictions. That's not what I do. It's not fair. What I'm looking do is seek a conviction in this case becuase he is guilty," Lane said.