Cheektowaga Man Sentenced For Strangling Girlfriend

Modified: December 7, 2016 2:13pm

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Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that 59-year-old Thomas Murphy of Cheektowaga has been sentenced by Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk to 23 years in prison plus five years post-release supervision. 

In October, Murphy pleaded guilty 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 strangled his girlfriend, 63-year-old Jean Hartwig inside their Cheektowaga residence at 30 Williamstowne Senior Apartments and set her body on fire inside a bedroom. 

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. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Jean Hartwig,” says acting DA Flaherty. “Despite all of our progress, Domestic Violence homicides are still far too common; indeed, one is too many.  If you suspect someone you know is at risk, please call the New York State Domestic Violence Hotline:  (800) 942-6906. Your concerns will be investigated and, if appropriate, assigned to a member of our High Risk team.  Even if you are not completely convinced someone is at risk, there are dedicated professionals trained to make that assessment.  Again, too often the first time we in law enforcement learn of a domestic relationship marred by violence or the threat of homicide, it is too late to stop it.  Please consider making the call; you may save a life.” 

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