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Murphy pleads guilty to assault
From Silverton Standard, the place where you can write!
Posted on December 02 2016, 5:02pm by Mark Esper in Local News category

A Silverton man was sentenced Thursday, Dec. 1, to two years probation after pleading guilty to a charge of third-degree assault stemming from an altercation with San Juan County sheriff’s personnel in 2013.

Michael Murphy, 64, had been scheduled to face a jury trial this week on a felony assault charge, but at a pretrial hearing in San Juan County District Court on Thursday, Murphy accepted the plea agreement.

Murphy was accused of pepper spraying then-Undersheriff Bruce Conrad and deputy Steve Lowrance in October 2013 outside his Greene Street home.

Conrad, who is now sheriff, told District Judge Greg Lyman that he was fine with the plea deal.

“I never thought jail was appropriate,” Conrad said. “But substantive mental health evaluation would be.”

“The goal is to hopefully have Mr. Murphy supervised and have mental health care provided to him,” said Assistant District Attorney David Ottman. “The people would suggest two years as the appropriate length for probation but we’ll leave that to the court.”

John Moran, Murphy’s public defender, said his client “is fiercely independent and has a strong sense of being treated unfairly and with disrespect.”

And he said that “Mr. Murphy feels there may be benefit to be gained with mental health evaluation.”

Moran also suggested Murphy suffers from chronic pain and therefore “might have a shorter fuse.”

Judge Lyman queried Murphy to make sure he understood the proceedings and the implications of pleading guilty.

Murphy indicated his lawyer explained it to him.

Judge Lyman handed down the two-year probation sentence and advised Murphy that it requires him to “live a law-abiding life and get a mental health evaluation.”

Lyman, reflecting on the many delays in the case — the most recent one in August when Murphy collapsed on the courthouse steps on the way to trial — at last bid farewell to the defendant.

“Mr. Murphy, it’s been a long road and I wish you the best of luck,” Judge Lyman said.


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