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Castle Rock mother accused of killing her own children goes on trial

A Castle Rock woman was on trial Wednesday for killing her two children a year-and-a-half ago.

Kelli Murphy, 43, is accused of smothering the 6- and 9-year-olds, and then trying to take her own life by slashing her wrists.

Murphy showed up in court in a gray pinstripe suit, with her hair pulled back.

She blew her nose and wiped her eyes several times during testimony. And she looked away from crime scene photos displayed to the court, including two that showed her children dead in their beds.

Madigan, 6, was face down on her bed with her arms above her head. Liam, 9, was face-up, his arms appeared crossed on his chest.

Nine witnesses took the stand–including the dispatcher who took Murphy’s 911 call on May 23, 2011. Former and current Castle Rock Police officers and firefighters also spoke.

Instead of protecting her children, Murphy is accused of squeezing the life out of her kids.

The prosecutor, Jay Willford, says Murphy’s actions in her home that day were”…intended as a message of control and revenge.”

Murphy and her husband, Eric, were going through a divorce and a custody battle. They were due in court that same afternoon.

She wanted the children 100 percent of the time.

He wanted split custody.

During the trial a 911 recording was played in which a dispatcher asked Murphy several times: “How have you hurt your children? Murphy repeatedly said, “I have to have an attorney.”

Murphy’s lawyer, Ara Ohanian, says Murphy was a great, devoted mother.

He says her plan was to commit suicide.

“She felt she was losing everything. Her house, her family, her husband and thought she might lose her kids,” says Ohanian.

He says Murphy’s biggest fear was her kids thinking she’d abandoned them. He says she’d rather they think she had died in her sleep.

So he says Murphy drank a bottle of vodka, swallowed sleeping pills and blacked out.

But when she woke she found her kids dead, so she then tried to kill herself–deeply cutting into her wrists.

He says she did not smother her children intentionally or with deliberation.

He says it comes down to her mental state.

Murphy’s estranged husband rushed to the home after stopping by earlier in the day. He couldn’t reach anyone and was worried.

Castle Rock Police Sgt. Scott Claton told the court, “He (Eric) asked again, “Are my kids okay?’ I said, ‘No. Your kids are not okay.’ And he broke down. He began crying, dry-heaving. He collapsed to the ground.”

Ohanian is asking the jury of 10 men and four women to convict Murphy on lesser charges.

He says he doesn’t want her to go free–but says she did not commit first-degree murder.

Ohanian says it is up to the judge what lesser charges apply to Murphy.

The jury returns Thursday at 9 a.m.

They’re expected to hear from more witnesses. Eventually, the murdered children’s father is also expected to testify.

The trial could take a couple of weeks.