Alleged rape victim dies in crash: Mobile D.A. says case involving former deputy moving forward

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A new development in the rape case against former Mobile County Sheriff’s Deputy Tyler Murphy. FOX 10 News has learned the alleged victim was killed this week in a single car crash.

Murphy -- who remains free on bond -- is accused of first degree rape and sodomy while he was on duty.

The unexpected death of the woman who made the accusations is presenting challenges to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office.

“Certainly is ... We lost our best eyewitness to the case. We’re moving forward with this case -- and we have other pieces of evidence. We will have to see if we have enough to meet the burden at the end of the day, but we do have other pieces of evidence and we are proceeding in this case,” said Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood.

Despite the unexpected obstacle -- D.A. Blackwood is confident and says it’s not the first time they’ve been in this unique position.

“They have a lot of hurdles -- they’re going to have to jump. Whether they can do it or not -- I have no idea... I’m not a prosecutor,” said Christine Hernandez, Tyler Murphy’s defense attorney.

Defense attorney Christine Hernandez says without a witness or victim to cross examine -- she’s going to ask for the case to be dismissed. Furthermore -- she reminded us her client has pleaded not guilty.

“We’re not guilty at all. There’s a presumption of innocence and that presumption of innocence will follow him day and night -- all the way through. And when we get to trial on the day of trial -- if they can’t produce a victim -- then they’re going to have issues,” said Hernandez.

“However, this and really any case as an investigation goes on is subject to being dismissed if we are not able to meet our burden -- that can certainly happen in this case. But we are working day and night to do everything we can to put together a case we can present in court. We certainly speak for victims -- we fight for victims every day -- and we fight for justice. And justice in this case is to do everything we can to hold him accountable -- regardless of whether or not the victim is here with us,” said Blackwood.

Both sides will present their case at a preliminary hearing set for May 4th -- where a judge will determine if there’s enough probable cause to send it to a grand jury.