Saturday, May 1, 2021

Robin Murphy, 17-Year-Old Cult Serial Killer – Massachusetts, 1980

FULL TEXT: Fitchburg, Mass. – The state’s star witness against an accused devil-worshiping cult leader and pimp testified Tuesday she took part in the ritualistic killing of a Fall River prostitute in a trance-like state.

The defendant, Carl Drew, 25, headed a satanist cult among prostitutes and pimps in the Fall River area, according to testimony in the Worcester Superior Court trial now in its second week.

Drew is on trial for murdering Karen Marsden, in early 1980 and has been indicted in the late 1979 killing of Doreen Levesque, 19, of New Bedford. Both young prostitutes were believed involved in the cult.

Miss Marsden was beaten to death with a rock before her throat was slit, her body mutilated her neck in a swampy woodland in Westport in February 1980.

Witness Robin Murphy, 17, who Monday testified she was present during the murders of the two woman and a third prostitute, said Tuesday she participated in Miss Marsden’s murder while in a trance-like state.

Defense Attorney John Burknis asked Miss Murphy if her state of mind was similar to that she described when she said she attended cult meetings led by Drew during which she experienced “out of body” sensations.

“I wouldn’t do anything like that to Karen,” Miss Murphy told her the crowded courtroom. “I loved her. I did it, yes, but not because I wanted to.”

Carol Fletcher, 24, of Fall River, said she was present during the killing, but did not participate. She said she saw Drew “take something out of his pocket, but I looked away. I went back to the car.”

Miss Fletcher recently returned from Washington State where she fled after giving information about the case in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The defense introduced a letter allegedly written to a female lover by Miss Murphy from Framingham State Prison, where she has been serving time since pleading guilty to second degree murder in the case in exchange for turning state’s evidence.

In the letter, Miss Murphy complained about the information given to police by Miss Fletcher and contradicted some her own testimony.

“She’s (Miss Fletcher) saying everything. She’s trying to get Carl and me life in prison,” Miss Murphy wrote. “I don’t care what Carl has ever done, she doesn’t have to lie about him.

“If she lies on the stand, that’s perjury. That’s five years, she’ll be taken care of if she gets up here (to Framington prison). Everybody up here hates a rat,” the letter said.

“Carol worked for me and she’s {angry) because I wouldn’t take her to bed,” Miss Murphy wrote. “She’s saying that Carl belongs to a satanic cult. That’s bull---.”

Miss Murphy testified Monday [Mar. 9, 1981] that Drew broke Miss Marsden’s neck, ordered her to slit the woman’s throat, then tore the head from the body with his bare hands.

After the murder, Miss Murphy said she went to Miss Fletcher’s home where she “ate some chicken, drank a beer and smoked a joint.” 

[“Star witness admits her role in satanist slaying of hooker,” Billings Gazette (Mt.), Mar. 11, 1981, P. 9-A]


Officer Paul Carey: I thought it was a bad move to grant Murphy immunity. …But I still believe that Murphy was the real ringleader, not Drew; that Levesque was murdered because Murphy was also in love with her and became jealous when Levesque started seeing Drew. I believe Murphy and Marsden were present when Levesque was killed. [Paul Carey, “Undercover in a murderous cult,” March 23, 1999]


Article written by one of the investigating officers –

FALL RIVER, Mass. – It was a case of sex, slaughter and Satanism. One woman was beheaded. Two others had their skulls crushed. Crime scenes were littered with human as well as animal bones.

It all began in October 1979 with a dead body beneath the bleachers of a vocational high school here. We ID'd the corpse as Doreen Levesque, a runaway from a foster home in New Bedford. She had been working as a prostitute in Fall River's red-light district.

It was the weirdest multiple-murder case I ever saw as a detective sergeant in the Fall River Police Department. Not only did I go undercover to attend a Satan worship ritual, I even brought the beer.

~ Hands bound, skull crushed ~

The young woman's hands had been bound behind her back; her head had been caved in with a rock. There were signs of peculiar sexual activities.

We had no suspects. There was no clear motive. We were stumped.

Three months later, another woman's body turned up. This one was found in a wooded area behind a local printing plant. She was identified as Barbara Raposa, 22. Like the first victim, her skull had been crushed with a rock and her hands bound behind her back. The slaying had ritualistic overtones to it. Three months before her body was found, Raposa -- also a prostitute -- was reported missing by her boyfriend, Andre Maltais, 44, of New Bedford.

We interviewed Maltais. He told us that the second dead woman was a devil worshiper. We later discovered that Maltais was part of the same devil worship group that held some of its rituals in the area.

We also stumbled on another relevant name: Robin Murphy, a 17-year-old prostitute and pimp who was a former girlfriend of Maltais. We learned that Maltais had ended a long-running relationship with Murphy in order to become Raposa's lover.

~ “Hovering” over crime scene? ~

Maltais told investigators that he had a dream of hovering over the crime scene where Raposa's body was found.

Apparently, he saw or remembered too much while he was “hovering.” The district attorney had him arrested, charging him with Raposa's murder. When she was questioned, Murphy fingered Maltais as Raposa's killer and agreed to turn state's evidence in return for a lighter sentence.

But there was still the killing of Levesque to solve.

We had long heard there were satanic rituals taking place in the area, but never had cause to investigate. Then, a woman I had helped years ago told me that a satanic group periodically met at her apartment. More importantly, she told me that Raposa, Murphy and a man identified as

Carl Drew, 25, all came to satanic rites there.

I told my partner, "Let's go. We're going to meet Satan."

~ Six-packs and Satan ~

We got two six-packs of beer and went to the apartment. We didn't tell anyone we were cops. People started arriving including Drew, a known pimp, and Murphy. They were soon joined by a woman named Karen Marsden -- who would later end up the third victim in the satanic slaying cluster.

At the apartment, we watched a satanic ritual. There were strange chants. A "Hail, Satan!" announcement indicated that Satan had entered the room.

~ Pimps and prostitutes ~

We later found out that Drew had been pimping for Levesque, the first victim, at the time she was murdered and that Murphy was pimping for Marsden. It was an ugly tangle, but we always thought Marsden, 20, was the key.

We later interviewed her about the murders of Levesque and Raposa. She was nervous and cried. We started to believe that she might have been at the scene when the murders occurred. She wouldn't admit that she took part in or saw anything.

I was supposed to meet and interview her again weeks later. But she disappeared.

I knew she was dead. Human skull and animal bones

Marsden's skull was found about six months later in Westport. When we searched the area, we found cat skulls, sheep bones and some jewelry that belonged to Marsden. We also found large clumps of hair -- ripped out by the roots -- that we believe were from her head.

More of Marsden's possessions were found about a half-mile away. We also found a ring with the symbol of the devil on it. It was spooky.

~ Maltais gets life ~

When Maltais went on trial for Raposa's murder, Murphy was the prosecution's key witness. She convinced the DA to grant her immunity in exchange for her testimony that she was present at the slaying of Raposa and had participated in the Marsden murder.

I thought it was a bad move to grant Murphy immunity. I still believe that she was the ringleader behind all the slayings.

In the Marsden killing, Murphy's testimony painted a grisly scene. She said Drew ordered Marsden killed in a nighttime ritual because the young woman wanted to leave the cult. She said Drew also killed Levesque and that "the two girls' souls were offered up to Satan."

Drew, she testified, ordered her to cut Marsden's throat after he crushed the victim's skull with a rock. She said Drew whispered words in a strange language, used blood from the body to paint a cross on her forehead, and then wrenched the head from the body with his bare hands.

Murphy told the jury that Drew had called himself the "son of Satan." Murphy admitted that Raposa, the second victim, was her lover and was involved with her in a prostitution ring.

Maltais continuously denied that he murdered Raposa or was involved in a devil cult. However, he was convicted of Raposa's murder in March 1981 and sentenced to life in prison. Murphy, in exchange for her testimony, was given 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder.

~ Overlapping love triangles ~

But I still believe that Murphy was the real ringleader, not Drew; that Levesque was murdered because Murphy was also in love with her and became jealous when Levesque started seeing Drew. I believe Murphy and Marsden were present when Levesque was killed.

I think Murphy killed Raposa because Raposa was in love with Maltais. Murphy admitted that she and Raposa had previously been lovers.

And, I believe Murphy killed Marsden because of the two previous murders. Marsden was at the scene of those murders, and I believe Murphy knew she was the weak link and might get them convicted.

Also, Murphy later admitted during the Levesque investigation that she lied in naming two other men as Levesque's killers. She later told the DA that she didn't even know the men she had accused. The DA was then forced to release the men.

No one was ever prosecuted for the murder of Levesque.

~ Where are they now? ~

Maltais died in prison, thinking he was an "agent for the police." He was mentally ill.

I visited Drew in prison a few weeks ago. I am convinced that it was Murphy, not Drew, who ran the whole cult and prostitution ring. Murphy was the dominant personality in the cult and had the motives to commit the slayings. To this day, I am still not satisfied that Drew was present at any of the murders.

But he's in for life.

Murphy will soon be eligible for parole. She was denied parole about five years ago [1994].

[Paul Carey, “Undercover in a murderous cult,” APB News, March 23, 1999]


Wikipedia article: “The Fall River Murders” –

The Fall River murders were a series of three homicides that took place in Fall River, Massachusetts, from October 1979 to February 1980 allegedly by a satanic cult. It was the onset of a period in American history known as the Satanic panic.

The first murder, 17-year-old Doreen Levesque, was committed on the night of October 13, 1979. Her body was found under the bleachers of Diman Vocational High School in Fall River the following morning. No person was ever convicted of the Levesque murder.

The second murder, 19-year-old Barbara Raposa, was committed on November 7, 1979, but her body was not discovered until January 26, 1980. Andy Maltais was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Raposa murder.

The third murder, 20-year-old Karen Marsden, is thought to have been committed on February 8, 1980. Portions of her skull were discovered on April 13, 1980. Her body has never been recovered. Multiple individuals were charged in the Marsden murder, but only Carl Drew and Robin Murphy were convicted. Carl Drew was convicted at trial and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Robin Murphy pleaded guilty to second degree murder as part of an agreement to testify on behalf of the prosecution and received a reduced sentence.

The Fall River murders are the subject of the 2021 documentary series Fall River produced by Blumhouse and directed by James Buddy Day.

~ Doreen Levesque murder ~

Doreen Ann Levesque was a 17-year-old resident of New Bedford who had left foster care and had no fixed address. On the night of her murder, she had traveled to Fall River to engage in prostitution with another sex worker, "Gail." Witnesses reported seeing Doreen being intoxicated downtown at several establishments and engaging in prostitution on Pleasant Street.

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on October 13, 1979, Doreen's body was found under the bleachers of Diman Vocational High School by two joggers, who were using the school's running track. She had been sexually assaulted and bludgeoned to death and was identified only after police released a composite drawing to local newspapers.

~ Barbara Raposa murder ~

Barbara Raposa was a 19-year-old single mother with a history of drug abuse and sex work. She was reported missing on November 7, 1979 by her father after she had failed to pick up her son from a babysitter. She was last seen around 8:15 p.m. by a male friend who had dropped her off in downtown so that she could work as a prostitute.

Barbara's body was found by hunters several months later, on January 26, 1980, in a wooded area on the outskirts of Fall River. Autopsy results indicated that she was killed shortly after she had last been seen.

~ Karen Marsden murder ~

Karen Marsden was a 20-year-old mother and sex worker in the Fall River area who had frequent contacts with police. On the night of her disappearance, police had questioned Karen as a potential witness to the murder of Doreen Levesque. On February 9, 1980, Karen refused to identify Doreen's killer, refused an offer of witness protection, and asked police to drop her off at a church in Fall River. Karen was reported missing the following day by her grandmother. Karen's partial remains were found in Westport, Massachusetts on April 13, 1980.



Oct. 13, 1979 – Doreen Levesque (17) murdered.

Nov. 7, 1979 – Barbara Ann Raposa. (19) murdered.

Jan. 26, 1980 – Barbara Raposa’s body was found by hunters.

Feb. 8, 1980 – Karen Marsden (20), murdered; roommate of Robin Murphy.

Apr. 13, 1980 – Portions of Karen Marsden’s skull discovered.

May 11, 1980 – Indictment of Robin Murphy (17; 137 IQ), Carl Drew, & Andrew Maltais.

1980 – Robin Murphy pleads guilty to second degree murder of Karen Marsden as part of an agreement to testify on behalf of the prosecution, receives a reduced sentence.

Jan. 19, 1981 – Andrew C. Maltais trial.

Jan. 1981 – Andrew C. Maltais convicted of murdering Barbara Ann Raposa.

Mar. 13, 1981 – Carl Drew (26) convicted of the murder of Karen Marsden; sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole; Fitchburg, Ma.

2004 – Murphy, who has a shot at freedom because she cut a plea deal, was actually free from 2004 – Robin Murphy, granted parole.

July 19, 2011 – Robin Murphy, loses parole after arrest during a traffic stop. Her passenger had heroin in her purse.

Mar. 13, 2017 – Robin Murphy Parole denied. “I have never seen a case more shot through with lies and deceit by a person seeking parole than this one,” Board Member Roger Michel Jr. said during the hearing. “I don’t think you would know the truth if it jumped out of the ground and slapped you in the face.”















Links to more cases: Female Serial Killers Who Like to Murder Women


For more cases of this type, see: Occult Female Serial Killers

[2059-7/23/21; 3962-10/4/21; 6128-7/27/22]

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