Partner Stephen J. Murphy was recently interviewed by CNN’s Chris Cuomo for the TV show “Inside Evil,” regarding a murder case that Mr. Murphy handled in his time as a homicide prosecutor for the Brooklyn District Attorney. The subject of the show was John J. Lennon, a man who murdered his friend in cold blood but has since become a well-known ‘prison journalist,’ appearing in publications such as the New York Times, The Guardian and Esquire.
“Inside Evil” attempts to better understand the psychology of violent criminals, people who have “cut short the lives of siblings, women and friends in calculated and gruesome ways.” And that is exactly what John J. Lennon went to jail for, after he ambushed and shot his friend nearly twenty times in a cold-blooded, premeditated murder.
“He was someone who had an opportunity to advance his life,” Mr. Murphy says of Lennon, but ultimately “he wanted to be a thug.” Although he handled many murder cases, this one stuck with Mr. Murphy partly due to how calculated it was. Following the brutal murder of his friend, Mr. Murphy says on the show, Lennon callously called his victim’s mother during Christmas time in an effort to deflect suspicion from himself. At trial, Lennon perjured himself, claiming that he and the deceased were the victims of an ambush by unknown drug dealers. Later, in his writings from jail, he admitted this story was concocted in an effort to beat the rap. A Brooklyn jury convicted Lennon of Murder.
Is it possible for such a violent and calculating criminal to be truly reformed?
“In 2001, [John J. Lennon] was the embodiment of evil,” Mr. Murphy says in the opening minutes of the show. “I can’t tell you what he’s like now.”
Prosecuting complex cases such as this one proved to be invaluable courtroom experience for Mr. Murphy, who has been described as a ‘legendary trial lawyer’ in part due to his ability to find and exploit the inconsistencies in Defense witness testimony. The ability to think on one’s feet, to process and analyze new information quickly, is a crucial skill for any good trial attorney, but it’s not the only one.
A good trial attorney should also be a good storyteller, somebody who can communicate persuasively and effectively with an audience, while also demonstrating total command of the facts of the case. These are skills that Mr. Murphy sharpened during his time with the Brooklyn DA-skills that have fueled his continued success as a personal injury trial attorney at Block O’Toole & Murphy.
Since joining the firm in 2005, Mr. Murphy has secured more than $350,000,000 in compensation for his clients. He has also won more than $40,000,000 for his clients every year since 2013, illustrating the consistently strong legal representation that Block O’Toole & Murphy provides for every client we fight for.
Mr. Murphy’s wide array of career and life experiences has taught him to effectively communicate with and relate to many different kinds of people, whether he is discussing the psychology of a murderer, rallying his peers to donate money to fight deadly pediatric diseases for the annual St. Jude Autumn Wine Tasting, or advocating for somebody who was recently injured in an accident. He continues to use all the skills and resources available to him to secure the best possible result for his clients.
You can watch Mr. Murphy speak with Chris Cuomo on Killer Writing, the 10th episode of the first season of “Inside Evil,” which is available on Hulu. New episodes premiere at 9pm on Sunday at CNN-affiliate HLN.