PHILADELPHIA (March 10, 2016) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams today announced that after a review by an Investigating Grand Jury he is charging Edward R. Kirby (DOB: 12-3-56) and Edward A. Kirby (DOB: 6-19-81) for the death of George Kirby (DOB: 7-23-49).
Edward R. Kirby and Edward A. Kirby, who are respectively father and son, are charged with: Drug Delivery Resulting in Death (F1), Criminal Conspiracy to Commit Criminal Homicide/Drug Delivery Resulting in Death (F1), Criminal Homicide, Criminal Conspiracy (F3), 23 counts of Insurance Fraud (10 charges are F3 and 13 charges are M1), 13 counts of Identity Theft (F3), Five counts of Theft by Deception (F3), Five counts of Criminal Attempt to Commit Theft by Deception (F3), and 34 counts of Forgery (F3). Edward R. Kirby and George Kirby are brothers.
“The father and son duo of Edward R. and Edward A. Kirby killed a sick family member so they could reap the rewards of ten fraudulently attained insurance policies with, not a gun or a knife, pills. Their actions are evil and deplorable and they deserve nothing short of the maximum punishment under the law,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams. “I extend thanks to the men and women of the Investigating Grand Jury, the Philadelphia Police Department and my Office’s Insurance Fraud Unit who put in hours of hard work to complete this investigation.”
At the time of his death, George Kirby was essentially home-bound and shared a home with his eighty-four-year-old caretaker aunt, Betty Murray, in the Frankford section of Philadelphia. George’s medical records show that he was being treated for pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and a heart condition. He was on oxygen 24-hours a day, developed a tolerance and addictive craving for strong medications, and had a history of drug abuse. He was also completely unaware of the insurance fraud scheme.
Edward R. Kirby had a history of significant drug abuse. His son Edward A. Kirby, fraudulently obtained ten life insurance policies as George Kirby so he could collect more than $100,000 in benefits. He attempted to apply for additional policies totaling almost $200,000. Edward A. Kirby completed and submitted the policy applications, forged signatures and falsely portrayed himself as the decedent by utilizing his own address, phone number and email address. When on the telephone with the insurance companies, Edward A. Kirby used an IP Relay System, a service accessed through the internet for the speech or hearing impaired, so the person on the other end of the phone would not recognize his voice.
Sometime in the month before the decedent died, Nicholas Kirby, who was George Kirby’s son, was on the phone with his uncle. Edward R. Kirby thought Nicholas hung up, so Edward A. Kirby, who was also on the phone, started to talk about their plan.
Nicholas heard the following:
“Go down there and kill him. Make it look like an accident. Just put a pillow over him and smother him,” said Edward A. Kirby.
Edward R. Kirby responded, “It’s not that easy.”
“I don’t care what you do, just take care of it. He’s your brother, you do it. The quicker you do this, the quicker we can get the money,” said Edward A. Kirby.
When Nicholas heard the “your brother” reference, he realized that they were talking about killing his father and so he called Officer McNicholas, a Philadelphia Police Officer friend.
About a month later, Edward R. Kirby delivered a bottle containing fifty methadone pills to the decedent. Nicholas testified that Edward R. Kirby, an addict himself who was taking prescribed methadone for pain, was well aware about what would happen when George took the methadone pills. George died of methadone intoxication. Nicholas, who was now certain that defendants had killed his father, once again called his police officer friend. After hearing what had occurred, Officer McNicholas contacted Detective Peters who was assigned to the Homicide Division and requested that a homicide investigation be opened.
During the investigation, Edward R. Kirby and Edward A. Kirby told inconsistent accounts, but their accounts were disproved by the evidence, especially when detectives recorded phone conversations between Nicholas and his uncle and cousin.
Edward R. Kirby and Edward A. Kirby will next appear, once a date has been scheduled, in court for their Preliminary Hearing.