Hostage Scene in Trenton, NJ, Like a Horror Film

hostage situation

Early in the hostage scene in Trenton, New Jersey, authorities might have thought it was a domestic dispute.  The aftermath discovered a scene and a story that was more like a horror film.

Police had been talking to Gerald Murphy, and knew that he had an 18 year old girl, a 16 year old girl, and a 4 year old boy inside, and that he was armed.  When police decided to rush into the residence early Sunday morning, they shot and killed Murphy, making the total number of dead bodies three.

The other two were Carmelita Stevens, and her 13 year old son, Quavon.  Their bodies were in an increased stage of decomposition.  They may have been dead for a couple of weeks.

Sonja Kelly says she can’t believe what happened inside her cousin’s home.  “The worst horror movie, reality. The worst thing I’ve ever seen of, heard of in my life,” said Kelly.

The standoff began on Friday after officers responded to a call from Sonja asking them to check on Carmelita and her children.  She hadn’t seen or heard from them in several days.  “Police further received additional information from another family member that Stevens’ two daughters had not been to school in 12 days,” Trenton Police Director Ralph Rivera, Jr. said.

Police found Carmelita’s oldest son hiding in the basement of the home.

Murphy was a tier-three sex offender.  After the three hostages were freed, it was revealed that Murphy assaulted the teenage girls while he held them captive.  All three had been abused.

Negotiations had continued for about 37 hours when the person talking to Murphy said he was becoming increasingly unstable.  They decided that their only action was to storm the home.  When they entered at about 3:45 Sunday morning, a single shot was reported.  Murphy had made a threatening act towards one of his captives, an officer fired, and he later died in the hospital from that wound.

Throughout the more than day-and-a-half standoff, police passed food and water to Murphy and his hostages through an upstairs window.  Officers estimated the bedroom they were in was about 10 by 11 feet in size.

“This was a very complex matter, considering the space (where the hostages were) and that three children were involved,” Colonel Rick Fuentes said. “Our mission over those 37 hours was to save innocent lives.”

Carmelita’s body, and that of her 13 year old son were found in separate bedrooms.  Police declined to disclose the cause of death for the two deceased.

Neighbors said that Stevens and Murphy had been dating for only a few months and both lived in the house.

Murphy had a long criminal history including convictions for aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.  He had previously been arrested for robbery and weapons offenses and child endangerment. He also had an arrest warrant in Pennsylvania for failing to register as a sex offender.

James Turnage

The Guardian Express

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