The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

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February 6, 2013

Rape suspect bus driver kills self

On the eve of his trial, a school bus driver accused of raping three young female students killed himself in Harpersfield Township, his attorney said.

Virgil Murphy Jr., 57, shot himself in the head with a .38-caliber hand gun at the Harpersfield Dam near the canoe launching site, said Richard Mongell, chief investigator for the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Office. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:34 p.m. Tuesday, Mongell said.

“He took things into his own hands,” said his defense attorney Dean Topalof, who added that his client suffered with a lot of medical issues. “Now there will never be a resolution to the case.”

Murphy’s death ends a case that saw him charged with two counts of rape, 10 counts of third-degree gross sexual imposition and three counts of fourth-degree gross sexual imposition, Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court records show.

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