Man who murdered, stabbed homeless New Yorkers gets 25 years to life in prison

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A New York man who murdered a homeless person and wounded two others as they slept outdoors on park benches in a stabbing spree over several nights in July 2022 was sentenced to between 25 years and life in prison on Wednesday, prosecutors said.

Trevon Murphy, a 42-year-old man who was himself homeless, had pleaded guilty in January to one count of murder in the second degree and two counts of attempted murder for the attacks.

"New Yorkers who face the painful and difficult experience of being unhoused shouldn't have to simultaneously fear for their safety," District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the chief prosecutor for Manhattan, said in a statement.

On three separate occasions between July 5 and July 11, 2022, Murphy approached his victims as they slept in city parks at night and stabbed them in the lower abdomen.

In the first attack, in Manhattan's Hudson River Park, Murphy's victim, a 34-year-old man, died in a nearby hospital. The two other men, one of whom was attacked in a midtown park, the other in an Upper East Side playground, survived serious injuries.

Murphy had been homeless for about 25 years at the time of his attacks, and has schizophrenia, hallucinations and other mental illnesses, according to Kevin Canfield, who became Murphy's defense lawyer after Murphy entered his guilty plea.

The court denied Murphy's motion to withdraw his guilty plea and to instead face a jury trial with a "psychiatric defense," Canfield said. He planned to appeal that denial.

"He wants to be sentenced to a psychiatric facility," Canfield said, not a prison.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Stephen Coates)