Murder-suicide in Murphys

By Craig Cassidy, The Union Democrat February 03, 2013 10:34 am

Two Murphys teens and their father are dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

The incident was reported about 3:10 p.m. Saturday, on the 1200 block of Sandalwood Drive, in the Forest Meadows subdivision.

The Calaveras County Sheriff's Office identified the victims as Alex Marshall, 17, and Macaila Marshall, 14. Both are students at Bret Harte High School.

The alleged shooter was their father, Philip Randolph Marshall, 54.

The date of the incident is unclear, but is believed to have been between Thursday and Saturday afternoon. No neighbors heard gunshots, officials said.

Two friends of the slain teens became concerned when they hand't heard from them. Their last contact was Thursday, according to the Sheriff's Office.

They went to the Marshall residence about 3 p.m. Saturday to check up on Alex and Macaila and, through a window, saw Phillip Marshall lying on the floor in a pool of blood, according to a sheriff's report.

Sheriff's deputies were called. Upon entering the home, the deputies found the bodies of Marshall and his children. The two teens were lying on the couch, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Chris Hewitt.


Each victims apparently died of a single gunshot to the head, the weapon being a Glock semi-automatic handgun, Hewitt said.


The father was lying on the floor. The handgun was under him. 


The family dog was found dead in a bedroom.

A post-mortem examination will be conducted to determine Philip Marshall and the victims' actual cause of death, the Sheriff's Office said in a prepared statement.

The victims' mother, Philip Marshall's estranged wife, Sean A. Marshall, was out of the country, traveling in Turkey, at the time of the incident. She was found and notified of the deaths, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Additional details in the investigation were unavailable.

A motive was unknown.


Hewitt said the father appeared to be well-respected in the community. News stories indicate he was an Ebbetts Pass Little League coach for his son's team a few years ago.


"I was told he was an airline pilot," Hewitt said.


Federal Aviation Administration records confirm he has an "airline transport" license. Who he worked for was unclear.


"They are upstanding members of the community."