Michael T. Murphy will walk out of Fishkill Correctional Facility a free man on June 5.

Now 41, he was 14 when he murdered 10-year-old Andrew Pitkin by stabbing him 33 times in the woods near their Valcour neighborhood in Peru on April 12, 1984.

He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to nine years to life in prison.

At a parole interview this week before a three-person State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision panel, two commissioners, Henry Lemons and Mary Ross, chose to grant Murphy parole; Commissioner Lisa Elovich did not.

Her decision, she said in her dissension, “is based upon the extreme and brutal violence exhibited against a young, vulnerable 10-year-old boy who you stabbed multiple times in a violent rage. You exhibited little remorse at the interview for this heinous crime.

“The victim’s family could forever be affected by your callous actions and has to endure the terrible loss of a child.”

Lemons and Ross told Murphy, “based on your lengthy but positive institutional record, including your letters of support from family, your positive interview and your COMPAS risk evaluation, parole is granted.”


Before Tuesday’s session, Murphy stood before parole boards a dozen times over the course of his incarceration; each resulted in his continued imprisonment.

A parole hearing set for January was postponed.

At Murphy’s last hearing, in late November 2010, he told the panel that he was “genuinely remorseful for taking Andrew’s life.”

The commissioners found then that “there was reasonable probability” that he would violate the law again and that his release “would be incompatible with public safety.”

Murphy maintained he had not injured anyone since he posted bail in 1984.

He did seek counseling, according to the transcript from the 2010 hearing.

One disciplinary action was brought against him since incarceration, for alcohol possession in 2007.

Lemons served on that previous panel, asking Murphy about his actions following the slaying of the Pitkin child.

“I don’t think it would be normal for a person to go home and fix a sandwich or watch TV,” Lemons told Murphy then, citing statements made to investigators after the crime. “I’m just trying to get a feel of your state of mind at the time.”

At that hearing, Murphy said his state of mind the day he killed Andrew had been influenced by the death of his mother the previous year and by his home situation.

“I was full of anger that day I took Andrew’s life,” he told the panel. “I snapped. I snapped.

“I realize Andrew died a very violent death. I don’t remember a lot of it. I don’t recall using the knife that many times.”


The Parole Board denied Murphy parole then, saying, in part, “This was an extremely gruesome crime committed by you at such a young age that leaves this panel with continued questions regarding the safety of the community.”

This week, Elovich said much the same when she withheld approval for Murphy’s parole.

“As such, your release at this time would so deprecate the serious nature of this offense as to undermine respect for the law and would be incompatible with the welfare of society.”

Andrew’s parents, Ruth and Bob Pitkin now live in Texas. They didn’t immediately return a phone message left for them Friday morning.

The Pitkins and others have vigorously protested the possible parole of Murphy over the years.

After the 2010 hearing, the couple expressed thanks to the Parole Board for considering public safety and denying Murphy’s release.

“Proper justice for murder,” they said, “should be execution or at least life in prison.

“Mr. Murphy should not ever be paroled.

Email News Editor Suzanne Moore at:


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