A Franklin County judge will consider two motions in the case against a St. Clair area man accused of murdering his girlfriend.
On Monday, Judge Dave Hoven appointed the public defender’s office to represent Michael C. Murphy, 58, who is being held on a $2 million cash-only bond.
Murphy is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of Stephanie Tauchert, 40.
Tauchert was shot multiple times at close range Wednesday, April 25, and died in the home the couple shared on Oakwood Drive in the Lake St. Clair subdivision, according to a probable cause statement filed last week in circuit court.
The public defender waived the reading of the formal arraignment and entered a not-guilty plea for Murphy, who viewed the proceedings from the county jail via a video connection.
Tuesday morning, Judge Hoven heard arguments on motions filed by the public defender asking him to issue a gag order in the case and to preserve evidence.
Judge Hoven took those motions under advisement because he was involved Tuesday in a jury trial in a civil case, The Missourian was told.
The victim’s name was not immediately released because authorities initially did not have a positive identification based on dental records.
Detective Lt. Chuck Subke of the sheriff’s office said Tuesday that investigators later were able to positively identify the victim based on medical and X-ray records from a surgery performed on her ankle.
Following the murder about 5 p.m. April 25, authorities began searching for Murphy who had been seen walking away carrying a rifle. Witnesses saw him get into a pickup truck and drive away. The truck was found abandoned on a road in another part of the sprawling subdivision.
Murphy was taken into custody about 10:20 a.m. Friday, April 27, following an extensive manhunt, that involved more than 100 officers from various law enforcement agencies around the area.
Murphy had been on the run for almost 40 hours before he was captured hiding near a home in the subdivision.
After undergoing an exam at Mercy Hospital Washington, Murphy was taken to the county jail where he was questioned by detectives.