June 3, 2019 | By Joseph Manuola
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class.
In 1973, Jim Murray lost his father. He became the family patriarch, taking care of his siblings and making sure everyone had what they needed to survive. By the time he was murdered sixteen years later, they had learned to survive on their own, but that didn’t make the loss hurt any less.
Murray was an Army Veteran, as well as a reserve officer and a veteran of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He served as a commander for JSO’s reserve corp. Later, Murray started a family car business in Jacksonville’s Springfield area.
On March 7, 1989, Murray was leaning over a parked car at One Motors speaking to a business associate. Two men approached Murray and the associate and fired shots. The associate managed to drive himself to the hospital. Murray died at the scene.
When Murray’s family received a phone call from JSO informing them of his murder, JSO had told them that the incident was a “robbery gone bad.” However, Murray’s family remains skeptical. They cited the fact that they feel Murray would have complied with the robbers, and also that nothing was taken from either man. The circumstances around Jim Murray’s death remain a mystery to this day.
The murder left a huge hole in the lives of his friends and family, a hole no one could ever fill. Murray was a father of two and a pillar in the community. He was the first-born, an older brother who was always quick with a joke. “He was always there for me in a jam; I could always count on him,” said his brother, Ken Murray. “He taught me how to treat people.” He was known as a Good Samaritan, often caught asking people “if there is anything I can do to help you.”
Murray was charismatic, always quick to make friends, and never met a stranger. Murray was a very protective big brother. He loved to have a good time. His little sister, Carol Murray, always wanted to go out with her brother and his friends. However, Murray never wanted his baby sister tagging along. One time, though, she recalled managing to go out for dinner and dancing with him and a group of friends. Carol wanted badly for someone to ask her to dance. Later she overheard one of his friends say that Murray had told them she was married to keep his friends away from her. She wasn’t.
“Jim loved Elvis,” Carol said. She recalled a time Elvis came to Jacksonville, and Murray waited in line for hours just to get a ticket. “I would go by Krystal on Riverside Avenue and bring him scrambled egg sandwiches to eat while he was in line,” Carol recalled. She fondly remembered a surprise birthday party she threw for her brother. Many friends and family attended. They even got him an Elvis impersonator. Murray loved the party, saying it was the best birthday he ever had. It would also be his last.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Jim Murray, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit at (904) 630-1157. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
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