I’ve just gotten word that Joel Alexander Murphy has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for the drunken, high-speed hit-and-run collision that took the life of Orange County cyclist Roger Lippman.
Lippman was riding north on PCH along the Bolsa Chica Wetlands last June when he was run down from behind by a car driven by Murphy; a witness reported seeing his body flying over 100 feet through the air following the impact.
Instead of stopping, Murphy continued on until he had second collision a few miles away, crashing into the fence surrounding the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. He was arrested at the scene, and booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and violating probation for prior drug offenses, including DUI, dating back to 2005.
Last month Murphy changed his plea to guilty, reportedly without a deal in place.
On Friday, he was sentenced to 10 years in state prison on one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, along with an additional five years for fleeing the scene. The terms are to be served consecutively, with the five-year sentence specifically excluding any eligibility for parole.
Which means that we can expect Murphy to be off the streets for at least the next 10 years at the bare minimum.
It doesn’t bring Lippman back.
But for once, a killer driver gets more than just a slap on the wrist.
Meanwhile, my source reminds me that the Orange County DA’s office still has not filed charges against Becki Lee James in the allegedly drunken death of cyclist Kenneth Prevatte just a month later and a few miles up the road, despite receiving a final report from the Huntington Beach Police Department over six months ago.
Which makes me wonder what exactly they’re waiting for.