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Prosecutor(s): James Andrews
Defense(s): Andrews Campbell,George Hess
Judge(s): Michaela Murphy

For more information about the Interactive Animal Cruelty Maps, see the map notes.

Monday, Mar 22, 2004

County: Franklin

Charges: Misdemeanor
Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Carol Murphy

Case Updates: 4 update(s) available

Carol Murphy, 60, is charged with animal cruelty and four counts of illegal wildlife possession. In March, the state Animal Welfare Board seized livestock and exotic and domestic animals from her property found to be malnourished and living in filthy conditions. More than 30 were taken to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society in Augusta for rehabilitation, including pot-bellied pigs, a peacock, chinchillas, sugar gliders, dogs and cats and also tortoises, hedgehogs, a Quaker parrot and peacocks, which in Maine are illegal to possess without a permit.

Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson recommended that District Court Judge Paul Cote impose special conditions on Murphy's personal recognizance bail: she was ordered to submit a letter to his office within seven days identifying all animals that remain in her custody and she is prohibited from acquiring new animals while the case is pending.

Animal cruelty carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine. As part of the sentence, a judge may prohibit a person from possessing animals and could order the cost of veterinary care, food and medicine be reimbursed. Animals in both cases required thousands of dollars worth of care, officials have said. Murphy has acknowledged she knew little about the animals' special needs and had trouble caring for them. She also has said she was unaware permits were required to own the exotic animals she purchased at Maine pet stores and auctions.

Murphy entered a not-guilty plea on April 28, 2004.

Homes for the hedgehogs have been located in New Hampshire, the tortoises have been sent to the Maine Herpetological Society, the peacocks went to a Maine woman who has a license to care for them and the Quaker parrot still is being rehabilitated.

Case Updates

It took a Franklin County jury 30 minutes on Wednesday to find Carol Murphy guilty of animal cruelty and of assaulting an officer with a stun gun.

The New Sharon woman was also found guilty of refusing to submit to arrest and criminal use of an electronic weapon.

A discussion on sentencing and possible criminal contempt of court charges is set for 9 a.m. today in the Franklin County Courthouse.

Murphy was arrested in October for unpaid fines. The following day, animal-welfare officials seized more than 40 animals from her home.

During the trial, Murphy, 65, repeatedly interrupted the proceedings, calling it a "kangaroo court" that had no jurisdiction over her.

She accused Justice Michaela Murphy of acting illegally by not stepping down after being named in a lawsuit Carol Murphy says she filed in U.S. District Court in Boston last month.

The lawsuit, according to Carol Murphy, claims the judge, the district attorneys, the police and state animal-welfare workers are running a criminal racket to make money from seizing her property and animals.

"You are a criminal and are conducting this court as a racketeering enterprise," Carol Murphy told the judge.

At one point, Carol Murphy called for the justice's arrest for violating the law.

"Someone call (Franklin County Sheriff Dennis Pike) in here to arrest this b----," she said when the jury was out of the courtroom.

During the trial, Carol Murphy, who represented herself, also interrupted Justice Murphy and attempted to talk over her; refused to stand for the jury; and during testimony, was either reading a book or whispering to her standby counsel, George Hess.

Then at 11:30 a.m., without comment, Carol Murphy abruptly stood up from the defendant's table, gathered her papers and walked briskly out of the courtroom and into the adjoining conference room.

The unexpected move caused a commotion among the extra state security officers, two court bailiffs and corrections officers assigned to the trial.

At that point, Justice Murphy called for a lunch recess, but an hour later, Carol Murphy reportedly refused to return to the court from the Franklin County Detention Center.

Jail Administrator Douglas Blauvelt testified he spoke to Murphy in her cell and that she refused to go back to the courtroom.

The judge, referring to state rules and case law, found that the trial could proceed without the defendant present.

In a related action, Chief U.S. District Judge John Woodcock, in a Feb. 18 order, found that Carol Murphy had filed nine cases in federal courts and that each civil action involved her long-standing dispute with state and municipal officials regarding her treatment of animals.

"She has lost at every turn. Rather than accept the judgments of her fellow citizens, she has concocted conspiracy theories, made wild allegations ... and has caused the state and federal governments to expend untold time and money defending against her meritless claims," Woodcock wrote.

He said the law has found that suing a judge does not automatically disqualify them from a case.

"Ms. Murphy has consistently abused her right to access to the courts by repeatedly and unsuccessfully suing ... state and municipal officials and then threatening to sue and suing federal judges who conclude her frivolous lawsuits lack merit," he wrote. "This must stop."

Woodcock ordered that Murphy not file any lawsuits in U.S. District Court, District of Maine without prior permission.

According to Assistant District Attorney James Andrews and testimony from several witnesses, on Oct. 14, Murphy zapped Maine State Police Trooper Aaron Turcotte on his neck with a 975,000-volt stun gun when he attempted to arrest her on a warrant for unpaid fines.

"This doesn't occur during a struggle or argument and he has not laid hands on her," said Andrews. "This was a premeditated attack, a surprise attack designed to disable the trooper."

Murphy was also carrying a four-inch, double-bladed knife that was found when she was searched at the jail, he said.

Turcotte was also investigating a report that Murphy possessed animals in violation of a lifetime ban following her 2005 conviction of animal cruelty.

The next day, the Maine Animal Welfare Program executed a search warrant and seized 45 animals at Murphy's home that were described in court as being emaciated, dehydrated, isolated, sick, living in feces-covered cages and without proper care.
Source: Mar 4, 2010
Update posted on Mar 7, 2011 - 11:53AM 
A jury in Franklin County has found a woman from New Sharon guilty of animal cruelty and assaulting an officer with a stun gun.

Sixty-five-year-old Carol Murphy was being investigated on a complaint that she was hoarding animals at her home.

A year later she was found guilty of animal cruelty.

After that, Murphy was under a court order barring her from keeping animals.

In October 2009, a state trooper showed up at Murphy's home to see if she was sticking to the rules.

Court documents say she used a stun gun on him.

Murphy represented herself in court, berating the judge and calling the proceeding a "kangaroo court."
Source: WABI News - Mar 4, 2010
Update posted on Mar 8, 2010 - 3:43PM 
Murphy appealed her conviction, however on July 27, 2006 the judgement was affirmed.
Source: Maine Supreme Judicial Court/Cleaves Law Library
Update posted on Jul 29, 2006 - 9:53AM 
Carol Murphy was convicted in April 2005 and sentenced by Franklin County Superior Court Justice Joseph Jabar to six months in jail with all but 24 hours suspended followed by one year probation.

Jabar placed a lifetime ban on Murphy possessing any animals, said her property can be randomly searched while on probation, fined her $2,000 and ordered her to pay $3,174 in restitution to the state for the cost of caring for the animals. She must also submit to a psychological evaluation.

Murphy refused to cooperate at a court-ordered mental exam last week after the psychologist allegedly told her she had a choice. Jabar said that if she fails to cooperate again, it would be a probation violation.

After a two day trial in April, Murphy was convicted on a charge of animal cruelty, a misdemeanor, and four counts of illegal possession of wildlife, namely two Russian tortoises, pygmy hedgehogs, a peacock, and a Quaker parrot.

Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Andrew Robinson described the conditions at the Murphy property on March 22 as "horrific" where animals were suffering from starvation, dehydration and exposure.

He said Ann LeBlanc, head of the state forensic unit, prepared a psychological evaluation largely based on Murphy's voluminous written diatribes where she portrays herself as a victim of a conspiracy.

The writings call prosecutors, the judge, animal welfare officials and witnesses "whores" and "vermin" who took kick-backs from the sale of her animals she claims were worth thousands of dollars.

Murphy's attorney Andrews Campbell, who acknowledged his client has "some delusions," said she has strong political opinions. She was exercising her right of free speech under the First Amendment and "should not be penalized for having an attitude against the system."

Murphy denied wrongdoing and vehemently rejected the idea of being a hoarder. "I was never charged with hoarding and I am not guilty of hoarding. There is no law in Maine about animal hoarding," Murphy said. "

Jabar said he realized Murphy did not intend to hurt the animals. "You thought you were taking care of them but you were not taking care of them... You have problems and you are not doing anything to resolve them. You don't understand the consequences of your actions."
Source: The Morning Sentinel - May 13, 2005
Update posted on May 15, 2005 - 3:17PM 


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