Memorial day weekend 1983, Jeffrey Murphy and David Croft (Now Dark Horse) took a drive in Murphy’s uncle’s truck. As they were driving they came across a school mate of Murphy’s, Penny Faulkner. All 3 were 17 years old. Murphy convinced Faulkner to get in the truck and drive with them to an abandoned horse stable, of which Faulkner did so. Murphy and Faulkner went into the horse stable, leaving David in the truck. A short time afterwards, Murphy comes back to the truck and asks David for his knife, of which David thought nothing of it at the time, and gave it to him. After some time had passed, Murphy and Faulkner come out of the stable. Murphy leans on the truck and Faulkner leans against him. Suddenly Murphy takes the knife and holds it to Faulkner’s back.
Unknowingly, Faulkner backed into the knife. Once David saw that Faulkner was injured he told Murphy that they needed to bring her to the hospital. Murphy told David and Faulkner to sit on the hood of his car while he drove them out of the woods, because he didn’t want to get blood on his uncles seats. David and Faulkner proceeded to sit on the hood. David asked Faulkner if she was alright and consoled her. Faulkner had no idea that she was badly injured and only mentioned that her back was hurting. The truck that Murphy’s uncle had was the type that must have the ignition turned and a button pressed in order for it to start. Murphy did not do both, thus making it seem as if the truck would not start. Murphy then suggested that they walk out of the woods. Murphy and Faulkner walked ahead of David , arm in arm. Suddenly David sees Faulkner face Murphy screaming “Jeff! Don’t!”. From there Murphy stabbed Faulkner until she was dead, As David stood there in shock, Murphy holds the bloody knife to David and threatens that if David did or said anything against him, that he would kill him also.
No Physical Evidence
There is no DNA or physical evidence which proves that David killed Faulkner according to the findings of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Jeffrey Murphy who took his case to trial and was proven guilty of 1st degree murder. After Murphy stabbed Faulkner to death, he held the bloody knife to David and threatened to kill him also if he did or said anything against him.
After Murphy bragged about the murder the police were informed. David was also brought in for police questioning. Although he was a minor of age 17, his mother was told that she could not be present during the questioning, and there was not an attorney present either. The police threatened and forced David into giving a confession, which he previously denied. Several years later, David found out that his mother was not allowed to be with him during the questioning. David filed a lawsuit because of this illegality. The courts agreed that this questioning was coerced and illegal, but denied him because it was not “newly discovered evidence”.
Inadequate Legal Representation
David’s public defender, Wayne Shipp, spoke to his mother and step father and told them that the State made a plea offer of 2nd degree murder.He said that this would sentence him to 33 years, less gain time. He advised them to convince David to not take the plea offer and to not even mention the plea offer to David and to take a sentence of 25 to life and therefore would be free within a few years. Trusting the Shipp’s advice they convinced David to take the 25 to life sentence. Even the judge stated that simply because of David decision, he was forced by law to give him such a harsh sentence. David is parole eligible, but the Parole Commission has given David a death sentence. They gave him a presumptive release date of the year 2100.