TN v. Karen & Michael Murray: Brother & Sister Murder Trial

Posted at 4:51 PM, June 28, 2024 and last updated 4:53 PM, June 28, 2024

JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (Court TV) — A Tennessee jury found two siblings guilty of murder for the severe neglect of their mother that led to her death.

Booking photos of Karen and Michael Murray

Siblings Karen and Michael Murray are charged with murder and neglect in the death of their mother, Sheila Murray. (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation)

Siblings Karen Murray, 49, and Michael Murray, 43, were both found guilty of first-degree murder and aggravated neglect of a vulnerable adult in the death of their mother, Sheila Murray. Sheila was 68 years old when prosecutors say she died at the hands of her children.

In Aug. 2019, Sheila died after she was admitted to the hospital, prompting the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the circumstances of her death. Investigators said they determined Karen and Michael “were responsible for the abuse and neglect that resulted in her death.”

Karen and Michael were indicted and arrested in March 2021.

The indictment, reviewed by Court TV, does not specify any acts of neglect or abuse but alleges that they occurred between April 4, 2019, and August 10, 2019.

Both siblings face a potential sentence of life in prison without parole when they are sentenced on Sept. 30, 2024.


DAY 4 – 6/28/24

DAY 3 – 6/27/24

  • The jury heard a recorded interview between TBI Special Agent Brian Pritchard and defendant Karen Murray.
  • Both sides rested.

DAY 2 – 6/26/24

DAY 1 – 6/25/24

  • Assistant Deputy AG Robin Ray made the opening statement for the prosecution, telling jurors many graphic details about the state of the Murray home, the oppressive heat inside, and the overwhelming scent of urine and feces — which only grew stronger as EMTs approached the bedroom in which Sheila Murray was found covered in fecal matter with an exposed tibia from a compound ankle fracture
  • Karen Murray’s defense attorney Chris Byrd argued that the State would not be able to prove the pair of siblings knowingly neglected Sheila, and that Tony Murray and the defendants did not realize how far in over their head until it was too late
  • Dr. Christy Lawson, who examined the victim at the hospital, testifies