An Irishman has been ordered to “self-deport” from the United States by a New Jersey court after he was sentenced to the 388 days he has already served in jail for using false papers to obtain a New Jersey driver's license. The 52-year-old was also the primary person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Liza Murphy, in 2007.
The self-deportation is part of a plea deal Paschal Delahunty, a father of three, made with the court. He was sentenced on Friday, at the Bergen County Justice Center, in Hakensack, NJ.
In 2007 Delahunty was the primary person of interest when his wife disappeared, according to retired Emerson, NJ detective George Buono. Liza Murphy disappeared on Aug 19, 2007 from her Broad Street home, after Delahunty had confronted her about being unfaithful. NJ.com reports that his wife left her home at 2pm without money, her cellphone, identification or her prescription medication. Her family reported her missing the next day.
At the time of investigation Delahunty admitted that he had been recording his wife’s phone conversations. Four days later Delahunty stepped into traffic and was hit by a fire department vehicle. It is believed that this was a suicide attempt.
A 200-officer strong man-hunt for Murphy’s body came up with nothing. There was never any physical evidence to link Delahunty to her disappearance. He has never been charged in relation to his wife’s disappearance.
During the investigation into Murphy’s disappearance Delahunty was found to be using the alias Joseph Murphy. He had used this fake identity to obtain permanent U.S. residence in 1990. He had previously been undocumented in the US.
The authorities only became aware of this in December 2014, CBS news reports.
In December 2015 Delahunty pleaded guilty to using a counterfeit driver’s license, under the name Joseph Murphy, when he went to renew his license in 2013.
On Friday, Jan 15, Judge James J Guida ordered Delahunty to “self-deport” within two-weeks or face a further five years imprisonment.
Delahunty’s lawyer, Joseph Raia, said he has purchased a ticket to fly from New York’s JFK Airport to Dublin, this Tuesday, Jan 19. The accused had a meeting with the Irish consular office in New York on Monday to obtain travel documents. Upon arriving in Ireland he will report to the US embassy “to acknowledge that he is, in fact, in Ireland."
Raia said, “He’s lost his family, in essence.
“He’s lost his privilege to be in the United States, regardless of how he obtained it. He’s a broken man at this point. Everything has been taken from him. There’s nothing more that we can take from him.”
Raia added that the New Jersey state authorities had acquired a sample of Delahunty’s DNA. “His biometrics information will be forever in the government’s database, which will make it impossible for my client to ever reenter the United States,” he said.
“If he were to attempt to, he would be caught at the border and incarcerated.”
Joseph Rem, an attorney who has represented Joseph Murphy since that incident in August 2007 told NJ.com, he believe Delahunty’s charges and deal are an attempt to “punish him” for the disappearance of his wife.
He said, “They never stopped looking and they never waned in their investigation but as many years as it’s been, to my knowledge, other than suspicious circumstances, they never had anything that remotely approached evidence, much less compelling evidence, to convict someone or even charge them.”
Referring to the recent charges he added, “My conjecture is this was an attempt to punish him for that.”
It is not yet known where in Ireland Delahunty hails from.