UPDATE: Family of Lexington man killed in 2017, seeks justice as accused killer is released
But, their anger and confusion is only growing because while Austin will never make it home for Christmas again...Flora will this year.
UPDATE: (DECEMBER 12TH, 2021) (WTVQ) – ABC 36 has heard back from the Victim’s Advocate in this case, Hannah Bernard, regarding the confusion with Flora’s release in October and his release last week.
Bernard provided us with the following information.
“I have reviewed my notes regarding the case COMMONWEALTH v Curtis Flora. I called Pamela and Austin’s father, Mr. Murphy, on October 18th to notify them of the changes in the bond and conditions that occurred on October 15th. I was able to speak with Mr. Murphy. Pamela did not answer her phone and I left a message requesting a call back. Pamela returned my call on October 28th, but I missed the call. I returned her call that same day, but she did not answer. I left a message requesting another call back. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to connect until December when I called her again when we learned from Pretrial Services that Flora was being released from the hospital.
Mr. Flora’s bond conditions were amended by the Court in October and he was released to a hospice facility following his attorney’s assertion that Mr. Flora was in the final stages of his life. I have maintained contact with Pamela throughout the past few weeks regarding Flora’s release from the hospital to help navigate the confusion as best I can. Upon learning last week that Mr. Flora was to be released from the hospice facility, the Commonwealth took immediate action to notify the victim’s family and file a motion seeking reinstatement of Mr. Flora’s bond. It remains our hope that Mr. Flora will be remanded to custody. The Commonwealth remains committed to obtaining justice for Austin and his family and will continue to pursue every avenue available to achieve that.
The criminal justice process can be incredibly confusing for victims. My heart hurts for Pamela and her family. Holidays are particularly hard for family members of homicide victims because there are constant reminders of their loss. The lengthy delays in the court system and defendant’s release from custody can exacerbate the trauma and grief of losing a loved one to homicide. The case is still open against Flora and he is still charged with Murder. Hopefully a trial will be scheduled soon and there will be accountability for his actions.”
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) (DECEMBER 17TH) – 4 years later, the family of 29-year-old Austin Murphy is still looking for justice.
“The day he pulled the trigger he killed our family…he killed our whole family” said the family of 29-year-old Austin Murphy.
On July 31st 2017 Austin Murphy was shot and killed.
According to Lexington Police, 65 year old Curtis Flora was charged with the murder after he confessed to killing Murphy outside his home off Greenleaf Drive.
Pamela Brown, Austin’s mother says her whole world collapsed that day…having driven up to the scene just minutes after.
“All I heard was get down, get down, get down. and I look up and these police officers are running down the street and I see the man that shot him go to his knees and put his hands behind his head and arrest him…and then I realized who it was” said Brown.
Flora was Murphy’s neighbor.
Murphy’s family says Flora has been in the Fayette County jail for 4 years, but hasn’t seen a trial.
“How do you not have a trial when someone has sat in jail for four and a half years for premeditated 1st degree murder?” asked Brown.
But, their anger and confusion is only growing because while Austin will never make it home for Christmas again…Flora will this year.
The family received a call Tuesday from VINE, the victim information and notification every day, that notifies victims about updates involving their offenders…that Flora was being released Wednesday on an ankle monitor and allowed to return home.
“He took something away from me, but he gets to spend Christmas with his family? I don’t think that’s right, I think he deserves to be behind bars” says Alexia Murphy.
Alexia Murphy, Austin’s now 12 year old daughter, says she is scared to even go outside.
“I shouldn’t have to worry if I go outside if he’s going to shoot and kill me.”
According to the Fayette County jail, Flora suffered some health issues and was released multiple times on an ankle monitor for treatment.
The family says they were aware he has been in and out of hospice care but were never told when he went in, and were under the impression his release this week was from police custody.
But the jail says Flora hasn’t been in their custody since October.
Murphy’s family was left shocked, unaware of that piece of information. His daughter broke down in tears.
Brown says the past four years have been full of confusion…and that all they want is justice for her son.
“This is what we have been going through for four and a half years, and you know my son was somebody, he was my child, he was her father, this man needs justice” said Brown.
ABC 36 reached out to Judge Kim Bunnell who the family says has been handling the case and who ordered the release…she has declined to make any comment.
We have also reached out to the Victims Advocate regarding the confusion on Flora’s release this week and his October release. We have not heard back yet.