Cheektowaga Man Pleads Guilty In Girlfriend's Death

Modified: October 24, 2016 4:59pm

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Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that 59-year-old Thomas Murphy of Cheektowaga has pleaded guilty before Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk to Manslaughter in the First Degree and Arson in the Second Degree. 

Between April 22, 2015, at about 6:30 p.m., and April 24, 2015, at 11:45 a.m., Murphy fatally strangled his girlfriend, 64-year-old Jean Hartwig  inside their Cheektowaga residence at 30 Williamstowne Senior Apartments and set her body on fire inside a bedroom. 

Murphy has been remanded to jail without bail and faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced December 5, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. by Judge Franczyk. 

Acting DA Flaherty commends the Cheektowaga Police Department including Police Officers Timothy Turnbull and James Rotger and Detectives Christopher Chojnacki, Terrance Griffin, Michael Hochwater, Timothy Szymanski and David Mossman for their thorough investigative work. 

Assistant District Attorneys Gary W. Hackbush and Seth T. Molisani are prosecuting the case.