• DCF, police, board of health testify in Erika Murray trial

    By: Robert Goulston

    Updated:

    WORCESTER, Mass. - The first people who tended to the children found in filth in a Blackstone home in 2014 took the stand on the second day of the trial for the woman charged in the deaths of two babies.

    Those witnesses included DCF workers, the Blackstone Police and the Blackstone Board of Health.

    Erika Murray is charged with murder in the deaths of two of the three dead babies found in her trash-strewn and insect-infested Blackstone home in 2014. In total, four living children were removed from the home.

    Defense attorney Keith Halpern said on Tuesday there is no evidence his client committed a crime and says Murray has mental health issues. 

    The state Department of Children and Families removed four children ranging in age from 5 months to 13 years from their home in August 2014 after a 10-year-old boy went to a neighbor's house and asked for help in quieting a crying baby.

    On Wednesday, Blackstone Police Acting Chief Gregory Gilmore testified saying Murray had indicated she was embarrassed to give birth to her 3-year-old and 5-month-old girls and how he got the impression it was why she told her older children she was babysitting them.

    "I believe she said that she was embarrassed to have them and she felt like she couldn't afford to have them so that is why I believe she told her older children that she was just babysitting," said Chief Gilmore.

    One official testified how Murray made up a fake Facebook account so she could tell people, including her two oldest children, that she was just babysitting the other two younger children.


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    No birth records could be found for the two youngest children. 

    Halpern said previously that he believes Murray secretly gave birth to those children because Murray's boyfriend and father of all four children, Ray Rivera, didn't want any more kids than the two they already had together, the 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.

    According to Chief Gilmore, there were moments where the search inside the house was suspended because crews were covered in various bugs after being inside the house for 15 minutes. 

    An official from the Blackstone Board of Health described in court the sickening smell inside Murray's house. He says there were feces all over the walls and beds and adds he was bitten by a bug during his brief first visit to the house. He says the bug bite later became infected.

    According to the official, a closer inspection of the house found urine drenched floors, handprints on the walls composed of feces, saying a regular cleaning company could not have handled the clean-up. There was running water and electricity inside the house. 

    When questioned by the Board of Health how she could live inside the home, Murray allegedly replied saying, "Yeah, it's a little bit dirty, I need to clean it up." Halpern's line of question is Murray clearly didn't understand how bad the situation was due to her mental illness.

    A Blackstone Animal Control officer who took the stand on Wednesday described a dog was found inside the basement of the home, covered in fleas, with missing patches of fur, eyes covered in some form of mucous membrane and growths all over its body.

    Walter McClain, a DCF worker, testified on his experience inside the house. He says that, during his visit to the home, he fell back into a room and his hands landed in something "squishy". Later, his eye became infected after he touched it with his hand and had to be treated.

    The DCF worker also said one child was found with something crawling inside their ear.

    "We brought her to the car and she was just limp," McClain said. "No muscle tone whatsoever. We put her into the car and we looked inside of her ear and I believe, I can't say it was maggots, but there was something crawling inside of her ear."

    When exhibits of family photos on the wall were shown inside the courtroom, Murray became visibly emotional. 

    The Blackstone Board of Health condemned the house where Murray, Rivera and the children lived and demolished back in 2014. 

    A judge is deciding the case after Murray waived her right to a jury.

    Related:

    Blackstone mother indicted on 2 counts of murder

    Young children in Blackstone home in 'deplorable' state

    Woman who called 911 on Blackstone home speaks out

    PHOTOS: Crews clear out the Blackstone house

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