Duck-pond murder suspect faces second count in homicide

Mikhail Anthony Purpera accused of 'extreme indifference' to value of human life

Posted 12/16/17

The suspect accused of shooting a man who was found dead in an Englewood duck pond will face an additional charge of murder with extreme indifference to the value of human life. Mikhail Anthony …

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Duck-pond murder suspect faces second count in homicide

Mikhail Anthony Purpera accused of 'extreme indifference' to value of human life

Posted

The suspect accused of shooting a man who was found dead in an Englewood duck pond will face an additional charge of murder with extreme indifference to the value of human life.

Mikhail Anthony Purpera, whom prosecutors presented evidence against in a July 11 preliminary hearing, appeared in court for a second preliminary hearing Nov. 2 for the court to decide whether the new count against him would proceed to trial. Judge Phillip Douglass approved the count in an order signed in November.

“He simply wanted to satiate a depraved desire to destroy human life,” Douglass wrote for the Arapahoe County District Court.

The new charge of murder with extreme indifference is another type of first-degree murder count.

Purpera is accused of shooting Patrick Murphy, 33, to death on Nov. 12, 2016, 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. In July, 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.

He's also been charged with possession of a weapon by a previous offender, possession of a schedule 1 controlled substance, resisting arrest, obstructing a law-enforcement officer, possessing drug paraphernalia and theft of less than $50, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office.

Englewood police Detective Brian Taylor testified in court 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 man told police that Purpera, now 30, threw a blood-covered hat — allegedly Murphy's — at him on Nov. 12, 2016. 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.

Douglass referenced such evidence — that Purpera murdered Murphy for a “rush” or a “thrill” — in his decision.

For the new indifference charge to move forward, the prosecution had to prove that Purpera knowingly created a grave risk of death and killed another person — while displaying extreme indifference to the value of human life generally, and with “universal malice,” the decision read.

Based on the July hearing for Purpera's case, Douglass wrote that evidence shows probable cause that he knowingly killed Murphy. The outstanding issue was: Did Purpera display extreme indifference in general to the value of human life?

At the July hearing, Taylor, the detective, testified that a man who said he knew Purpera and knew of Murphy said Murphy often bought drugs from Purpera.

The defense argued that the indifference charge would only be valid had Purpera not known his alleged victim — evidence suggests Purpera knew Murphy and intentionally killed him, attorneys argued, so the incident didn't show indifference to human life in general. Nothing would stop any murder case from being tried under the extreme-indifference standard if Purpera's were allowed to, the defense argued, according to the decision.

But even if a perpetrator knows the victim, Douglass wrote, the charge can still stand if evidence shows a “depraved heart,” a person who would decide to kill someone upon being slightly or insufficiently provoked. While Purpera and Murphy knew each other, a jury could conclude from the evidence that Purpera didn't care who his victim was and that he just wanted to satisfy a desire to kill someone, he added.

Purpera is also suspected of murdering 54-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.

Purpera was previously scheduled for trial in Denver District Court in Dec. 12-18, but is now scheduled April 24-30. Louisiana officials had previously issued a warrant for Purpera’s arrest for two counts of attempted murder in connection with an Aug. 22, 2016, shooting in that state.

An arraignment in his Arapahoe County case is now scheduled for Dec. 29.

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