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Two high-profile Folsom murder cases headed to trial

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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Suspected murderer Joshua Atkins is scheduled to face a jury trial May 10 in Sacramento County Superior Court. Atkins, described by officials as a Folsom transient, is accused of stabbing Minor Leon, 19, to death Oct. 1 on East Bidwell Street following an altercation, allegedly from a marijuana deal gone bad. Leon reportedly died from a single stab wound to the torso. Atkins was arrested Oct. 2 by Folsom Police and remains in custody without bail in Sacramento County Jail. Court records indicate a trial readiness conference is set for May 3, with pre-trial motions and jury selection slated to being May 10. It’s taken more than two years, but the man accused of brutally killing Folsom’s Alice Murphy in her home Dec. 21, 2009 will face a jury trial. Slyvester Griffin remains in custody in the Sacramento County Jail without bail. He has been charged with suspicion of murder, robbery, rape by force and burglary — all felonies. Jury selection is expected to being this week. His next scheduled court date is Feb. 29 in Sacramento County Superior Court. Murphy, 64, was found dead in her 1720 Creekside Manor apartment on Dec. 21, 2009. Tammy O’Reilly, a family friend, had stopped by her apartment and discovered Murphy’s body, then called 911. That investigation went on for nearly six months, culminating in the June 16, 2010, arrest of a former Elk Grove man, Sylvester Griffin, 42, in Columbia, South Carolina. Griffin had been working as a driver for Rapid Response Medical Transportation Service and frequented Murphy’s apartment complex. The Federal Bureau of Investigations, the FBI Crime Lab, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, the Sacramento Coroner’s Office and the Columbia police all fully cooperated with the Folsom police during the investigations. More than 200 interviews had been conducted and several hundred hours’ worth of video surveillance was thoroughly analyzed, along with other evidence. “Any lead we got, we followed through with it and that took time. But it all paid off when the crime lab got that DNA match,” Sgt. Jason Browning, of the Folsom Police Department said in an earlier interview “Once we had that match, then it helped us to get an arrest warrant for the suspect.”