The suspect accused of shooting a man twice, grabbing his bloody hat and the shell casings, and dumping the victim's body in a duck pond may face a new charge: murder with extreme indifference to the value of human life.
Mikhail Anthony Purpera, …
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Mikhail Anthony Purpera, whom prosecutors presented evidence against in a July preliminary hearing, appeared in court for a second preliminary hearing Nov. 2 for the court to decide whether the new count against him will proceed to trial.
“It's a joke to him,” a prosecutor for the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office said in court, recounting a source's account that Purpera threw the victim's hat at him “to see the look on (his) face.”
Purpera allegedly shot Patrick Murphy, 33, to death on Nov. 12 in Englewood, according to evidence presented at the July hearing. Preliminary hearings allow judges to decide whether there is enough evidence to take the case to trial — they don't decide whether a suspect is guilty. At the July hearing, Judge Phillip Douglass ruled that Purpera would face trial — barring a plea deal — on counts of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery and would be held without bond.
The prosecution brought evidence for the new charge of murder with extreme indifference, which is another type of first-degree murder count, at the Nov. 2 court appearance at the Arapahoe County District Court.
Englewood police detective Brian Taylor testified that a 32-year-old man who knew Purpera told him in an interview that Purpera killed Murphy “for the fun of it, if you will — for no reason.”
The 32-year-old told police that Purpera, now 30, threw a blood-covered hat at him Nov. 12. Purpera called the bloody hat a "present" and said he liked the look on the man's face, according to statements the man gave police. The man said Purpera got a thrill or a rush from killing Murphy, Taylor testified.
The defense for Purpera noted that the 32-year-old said Purpera was a “heavy drug user” of methamphetamine and would sometimes stay up two or three days at a time.
Purpera's suspected murder of 55-year-old homeless man Wayland Busby on or around Nov. 5, 2016, in the course of trying to steal marijuana and other goods — a case being handled in Denver — also factored into the prosecution's argument. Allegedly committing the two murders within less than two weeks of each other, possibly in response to intoxicated “trash-talking” in Murphy's case, demonstrated extreme indifference to human life, the prosecution said.
Douglass, the judge, countered that if Murphy insulted Purpera, that could be a sufficient fact that would rule out the murder allegedly being committed for no reason. The prosecution disagreed and argued that Purpera's possible intoxication at the time is not a defense against an extreme indifference charge.
Purpera's allegedly making light of and joking about the crime shows his indifference, the prosecution said.
The defense argued that there was enough intent in Purpera's allegedly shooting Murphy in the head to qualify the murder as deliberate, adding that they think the prosecution is trying to create a charge it can more easily present without having to worry about Purpera's possible intoxication at the time as a defense.
The prosecution said the evidence shows it didn't have to be Murphy specifically that Purpera shot — he could have shot anyone who drunkenly insulted him.
Douglass did not immediately give a ruling on whether Purpera will face the indifference charge.
Purpera is scheduled for trial in Denver District Court in Dec. 12-18. As of May, Louisiana officials had a request that Purpera be extradited to their jurisdiction to face trial for two counts of attempted murder in connection with an Aug. 22, 2016, shooting.
An arraignment for his Arapahoe County case is scheduled for Nov. 30.
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