Gaunt, with cloudy blue eyes and an ever-present cigarette between his thin lips, Randy — not his real name — was celebrating his 80th day without heroin. The 22-year-old Atlantic Beach resident, who says he regularly bought from Baldwin’s Dr. William Conway, wore a black track suit with white piping that matched the black and white Brooklyn Nets cap askew atop his shaved head. He was 10 minutes late for the interview because, as his mother, Kerri Murphy, 47, explained, he and his new girlfriend “just had to go out for five-dollar Starbucks.”
Murphy is a registered nurse who works at a hospice, but is planning to move away from New York in the near future. She offered a hopeful “we like her” when asked about her son’s new girlfriend, who does not use drugs. Implicit in this approval, of course, is an indictment of Randy’s previous romantic interests, who were always her son’s partners in addiction. Once, Murphy said, a girlfriend visited Randy in Virginia while he was trying to kick his habit. “Within five hours of him picking her up at the airport,” she recalled, “they had found heroin in Virginia.”
A mother’s love
Randy’s mother, who does not share her son’s last name, was not shy about discussing the addiction battles her family has fought over the better part of a decade. “I did everything you can think of to get him to stop,” she said. “I barricaded him in his room with a broomstick one time. I would rather be dead than have him living on the street.”
It was an email Murphy sent to the Herald that resulted in the conversation with her son (see photo of Murphy). The message expressed Murphy’s outrage that Baldwin doctor William Conway, who admitted in June that he conspired to distribute 750,000 oxycodone pills between 2009 and 2011, was allowed to plead guilty in exchange for what she perceived as a reduced sentence.
“It is outrageous that this MD can cop a plea,” Murphy wrote. “He is responsible for countless tragedies that are going on as we speak in our community. Can the addicts and families get a better deal? ... Can a mother make a deal and say, ‘I’ll just worry two days a week and the rest of the time I will be free of worry?’ Not a chance.”