HOUSTON -- Basketball Hall of Famer Calvin Murphy was acquitted Monday of charges he sexually abused five of his 10 daughters more than a decade
As soon as the verdict was read, Murphy shook hands with his attorney and wiped away tears.
Murphy, 56, had long denied the allegations, saying they were based on resentment and a dispute over money. He could have faced five years to life for
sex assault charges and two to 20 years for indecency charges.
"To hear that people believe in me and found me innocent of those charges, my heart just swelled up and started beating very fastly in my body,"
Murphy said outside the courtroom. "I cannot say enough for what they have done to give me my life back."
He said he hopes one day to be able to sit down and talk with his daughters.
"I want to start the healing process," he said. "Let's not forget that my family is in turmoil right now."
Murphy's daughters and prosecutors left the courthouse without commenting.
Testimony ended last week after Murphy tearfully testified in his own defense.
"You can never fully repair his reputation," attorney Rusty Hardin told jurors during closing arguments. "But you can take that first step in righting
But prosecutor Paula Storts argued that Murphy was "a master of manipulation."
"He's a cheat and he's a child molester," she said.
The jury deliberated about two hours before returning its verdict in the monthlong trial.
Murphy was a Houston Rockets guard from 1970-83 and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. His daughters said the abuse occurred
between 1988 and 1991.
Prosecutors said Murphy tried to maintain a public image of having only one family, even though he has 14 children with nine women. He married one of
the women, according to prosecutors, and accepted her children. They said his children with the other women were told not to call him "Dad."
The former basketball star's lawyers said three of the five daughters had been trying to claim $52,408 in death benefits left in a teachers retirement
account belonging to their mother, Phyllis Davidson. Murphy had a 20-year relationship and four children with Davidson, who died in a car accident in
This year, the three daughters continued their grandmother's attempt to stop Murphy from receiving the benefits. He was listed as the account's
beneficiary, according to court records.
On Feb. 20, letters went to Murphy, his three daughters and their grandmother that Murphy was the account's rightful beneficiary. The money was never
A month later, Murphy was arrested and charged with sexual abuse and indecency.
Murphy was dismissed from his job as an analyst for the Rockets as he awaited trial. Rockets senior vice president Tad Brown said Monday that the team
was pleased Murphy had been cleared and would re-evaluate his future with the team at the end of the season.