Calvin Murphy Acquitted, Jurors took less than two hours before finding former Houston Rockets star Calvin Murphy innocent today on charges of molesting five of his daughters, ending an eight-month criminal case that scarred the reputation of the beloved local sports hero.
At the close of the month-long trial, Murphy closed his eyes and glanced upward as the not guilty verdicts were read on each of the six counts. Moments later, the 56-year-old National Basketball Association Hall of Famer and former TV commentator bear-hugged his attorneys, slapping their backs as tears streamed down his face.
“To hear that people believe in me and found me innocent of those charges, my heart just swelled up and started beating very fastly in my body,” Murphy said afterward. “I cannot say enough for what they have done to give me my life back.”
Four of the five daughters who accused him of sexual abuse sat in the back row of the courtroom, holding hands and crying quietly as state District Judge Mike McSpadden read the verdict. They were distraught and declined to comment as they left the courtroom.
The jury’s brief deliberations indicated that they found the daughters’ tearful testimony to be unreliable. The women, who are now grown, said Murphy repeatedly fondled or performed oral sex on them more than 10 years ago when they ranged in age from 6 to 16.
Murphy’s attorneys said the women lodged false allegations due to a dispute over money and long-standing resentment of the way he treated the children born outside his marriage to his ex-wife, Vernetta Murphy.
The trial often focused on Murphy’s unusual family tree, which includes 14 children by nine women. The five daughters who accused Murphy were all born outside his marriage, while the two daughters born to his ex-wife rallied to his defense and testified on his behalf.
For years, Murphy appeared to show favoritism toward the children born to his wife, witnesses said. He pressured his accusers and the other children born to other women not to call him “Dad” in public so he could preserve his public image as a traditional family man, witnesses said.
Murphy said the trial has been devastating for his family.
“I want to start the healing process. Let’s not forget that my family is in turmoil right now,” Murphy said as he left the courthouse. “But right now I’m going to take a step back and enjoy this moment.”
Murphy also offered a basketball analogy for how he felt when the jury returned.
“It was like being at the foul line with the game over, and you’ve got one shot to take, and you’re hoping it’s going to go in,” Murphy said, standing next to his attorney, Rusty Hardin.
Murphy referred to Hardin and his other attorneys as “my dream team.”