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Murphy taught children to lie, prosecutor says

11/5/2004

HOUSTON --The sexual assault case against former NBA star
Calvin Murphy was the result of hatred, revenge and a fight over
money, his lawyer said Friday in opening statements.

Murphy, accused of abusing five of his 10 daughters, is
"unequivocally" innocent of the charges, attorney Andy Drumheller
said.

Murphy, 56, was a Houston Rockets guard from 1970-83 and was
inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. His daughters
say the abuse occurred between 1988 and 1991.

Prosecutors say Murphy tried to maintain a public image of
having only one family, even though he has 14 children with nine
women. He married just one of the women, according to prosecutors,
and accepted her children. They said his children with the other
women were told not to call him "Dad."

"They were taught to lie out in public about their relationship
with Calvin Murphy from the day they were born," Lance Long,
Harris County assistant district attorney, told jurors. "Calvin
Murphy had three women pregnant at the same time."

Drumheller, meanwhile, said three of the five daughters had been
trying to claim $52,408 in death benefits left in a teachers
retirement account belonging to their mother, Phyllis Davidson.
Murphy had a 20-year relationship and four children with Davidson,
who died in a car accident in 1996.

This year, the three daughters continued their grandmother's
attempt to stop Murphy from receiving the benefits. He was listed
as the account's beneficiary, according to court records.

On Feb. 20, letters went to Murphy, his three daughters and
their grandmother that Murphy was the account's rightful
beneficiary. The money was never paid.

A month later, Murphy was arrested and charged with sexual abuse
and indecency with the five daughters, including three with
Davidson.

"This case is about resentment, it is about hatred and it is
about revenge on a father," Drumheller told jurors.

Long dismissed the idea that the charges have anything to do
with money and said at least one daughter contends she was as young
as 6 when Murphy abused her at a hotel. Drumheller, however, said
the allegations were checked out by police, who could find no
record of Murphy staying at the hotel.

Murphy faces three charges of indecency with a child and three
charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

If convicted, he could be sentenced to two to 20 years for the
indecency violations and five years to life in prison for the
aggravated offenses. The trial is expected to last at least two
weeks.