On October 4, former Benton County jail administrator Nicholas Murphy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years in prison on one count of statutory sodomy in the second degree, one count of statutory rape in the second degree and two counts of incest.

Murphy admitted he sexually abused a family member when she was under the age of 17. Kaitlynn Donnelly, an assistant prosecuting attorney for Zahnd, also informed the Court that the defendant took the victim to New Mexico in 2018 for an abortion after he raped her.

Zahnd said, “Sex crimes against children are always appalling and difficult to comprehend. But it is almost unimaginable that a member of the law enforcement community--a person who has promised to protect and serve the community--would commit this sort of unspeakable crime.”

Murphy's case was investigated by the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It was prosecuted by First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark Gibson and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kaitlynn Donnelly.

In the Holt County case against Caleb Roberrt Morris, Zahnd was appointed due to a conflict in the county prosecuting attorney's office, according to a press release from Platte County.

In that case, Morris pleaded guilty to statutory sodomy in the first degree on August 9. He admitted sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl. Because the victim was under 12 years old at the time of the crime, Morris must serve at least 85% of his 20-year sentence before becoming eligible for parole.

Morris' case was investigated by the Holt County Sheriff's Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Justin Kalwei and Sydney Alizadeh.

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, "When our prosecutor colleagues have a conflict or need help, we stand ready and willing to assist. It's vital that justice be done, particularly against criminals who prey on children."

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Murphy, who resided in Warsaw, was the Benton County Sheriff’s Department Jail Administrator when he committed multiple sex crimes against a family member.

His crimes were reported to the Missouri State Highway Patrol in November 2021, and Zahnd was appointed in December as special prosecutor, given Murphy's employment with the Benton County Sheriff's Department.

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