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Thursday, Oct 15, 2009County: Franklin
Charges: Misdemeanor, Felony Non-CTA
Defendant/Suspect: Carol Murphy
Case Updates: 1 update(s) available
Police say a 65-year-old New Sharon woman assaulted a state trooper with a 975,000-volt stun gun during an investigation into possible animal hoarding at her house on Lane Road.
Carol Murphy pleaded not guilty in Franklin County Superior Court on Thursday to assault on an officer, criminal threatening, refusing to submit to arrest and criminal use of an electronic weapon. She was being held at the Franklin County jail on $10,000 cash bail or $100,000 worth of real estate.
State Animal Welfare Program staff and Maine State Police seized at least 40 domestic and farm critters, including a donkey, two alpacas and a pot-bellied pig, at Murphy's house on Thursday.
"We found a lot of animals," Animal Welfare Director Norma Worley said. "Forty at minimal; maybe more."
Murphy is under a court order that bars her from keeping animals at her home.
In 2004, nearly 70 animals were seized from her property, most of them living in her house and garage. In 2005, she was convicted of animal cruelty and possessing animals without permits. Murphy was sentenced to six months in jail, with all but 24 hours suspended, and one year of probation. She was fined and ordered to pay restitution, as well as prohibited from possessing any animals for the rest of her life.
State Trooper Aaron Turcotte, who was not seriously injured by the shock to his head and neck, went to the house Wednesday after a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked police to check on Murphy.
Turcotte wrote in an affidavit that when he arrived at the house he saw several roosters walking around outside and Murphy walking toward her car. He told her he had a warrant for her arrest and asked if she needed to lock her home. She shook her head and walked into her house, he wrote. The warrant was issued for unpaid fines and fees in connection with the animal cruelty conviction in 2005.
After Murphy had been inside for five minutes, Turcotte said he opened the storm door and knocked on the inside door and it partially opened.
"I could smell a strong odor of feces coming from inside the home," he wrote. "I could hear what sounded like several dogs barking from inside."
When Murphy finally came out with her back to him, Turcotte held the door for her because he thought she was having some difficulty.
"At this time, I felt something striking my face and neck, jolting me," he said, and he saw a black object in her hand. "I could then hear the noise being made from the black object and realized I had been shocked by a stun gun on the face and neck," he wrote.
Turcotte said he ordered Murphy to drop the stun gun, which she refused to do and began to advance on him. He used pepper spray on her and grabbed her by the arms, pulling her to the ground. She continued to resist, but he was able to handcuff her, he said.
Murphy was arrested and taken to the Franklin County jail in Farmington on Wednesday. Her house was watched through the night by state police, Trooper Samuel Tlumac said from the road in front of Murphy's property on Thursday.
A donkey could be heard braying and a dog was barking. There were roosters in a pet carrier in the driveway.
|A judge sentenced a New Sharon woman Thursday to four years in prison for a premeditated stun-gun attack on a state trooper.|
Carol A. Murphy, 65, was found guilty of assaulting an officer, refusing to submit to arrest, criminal use of an electronic weapon and two counts of animal cruelty.
Franklin County Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy also prohibited Carol Murphy from ever possessing animals. It was the second lifetime ban ordered by the Franklin County court, though Carol Murphy claimed there was never a first order.
She was convicted of cruelty to animals in 2005 after state humane agents seized about 70 animals from her home at 248 Lane Road.
Justice Murphy on Thursday commended Maine State Police Trooper Aaron Turcotte for his professional conduct on Oct. 14, 2009, when he went to arrest Carol Murphy on a warrant for unpaid fines and fees. An audio recording of the assault was played for the jury Wednesday during Murphy's trial.
In court Thursday, Carol Murphy turned to Turcotte and told him that because the warrant he arrested her on was bad, she had the right to "kill" him that day in October 2009.
On Oct. 15, 2009, state agents seized about 45 animals from her property.
In addition to the sentence for the assault, Carol Murphy was ordered to serve nine months, concurrent with the four-year sentence, on each of the other charges. She was also ordered to serve 30 days for contempt of court for her disruptive conduct during her one-day trial. It was the maximum sentence allowed.
On Wednesday, without the jury present, Murphy referred to the justice as "this bitch." Carol Murphy, who acted as her own attorney, later walked out of the courtroom during testimony and did not return.
She continued to tell the court Thursday that Justice Murphy had no jurisdiction over the trial and continued to claim the justice was a criminal.
She said the first conviction of animal cruelty was null and void because there was no search warrant issued to seize her animals and the state violated her rights. The warrant Trooper Turcotte arrested her on last year stemmed from unpaid fines from the 2005 conviction.
Assistant District Attorney James Andrews asked the court for a sentence of between 24 and 30 months. He also asked that none of it be suspended and no probation be allowed in an effort to protect society. He said he wouldn't be surprised if Carol Murphy picked up a few stray cats on her way home from prison and became violent the next time a person of authority approached her.
Turcotte told the court he used a degree of compassion in this case and learned the hard way. He said he was concerned that it would happen again and asked for restrictions on her to protect law enforcement officers and others with authority from such attacks.
Justice Murphy said she disagreed with the state and set the sentence higher, based on Carol Murphy showing no remorse, smiling and nodding when the video of the "unprovoked, premeditated" attack was played. Murphy's remark that she had a right to kill Turcotte was another factor in the sentencing, the justice said.
It was only "by luck" that Trooper Turcotte wasn't seriously injured, Justice Murphy said.
A state evaluation of Carol Murphy found no evidence of delusional or psychotic thinking, the justice said.
|Source: sunjournal.com - Mar 5, 2010|
Update posted on Mar 7, 2011 - 12:45PM
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