FARMINGTON — A jury deliberated for 30 minutes Wednesday before finding a New Sharon woman guilty of contempt for violating a 2010 court order banning her from owning or possessing animals.

Carol Murphy, 72, of 248 Lane Road was issued a contempt of court charge in 2014 after Maine Animal Welfare agents and state and county law enforcement seized 14 animals from her property.

A jury convicted Murphy on March 4, 2010, on two counts of animal cruelty. She was also convicted on charges related to using a stun gun on a Maine State Police trooper when he tried to arrest her on a warrant for unpaid fines on Oct. 14, 2009. The following day, state agents seized about 45 animals from Murphy’s residence.

Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Murphy to four years in prison for the premeditated attack and nine months each on the cruelty to animal charges to run concurrent with the assault sentence. She was also sentenced to 30 days on a contempt of court charge for statements made in the courtroom.

Justice Murphy also issued an order banning Murphy from owning or possessing animals for life.

It was the second time a jury found Murphy guilty of cruelty to animals. She was convicted in 2005 after animal welfare agents and law enforcement seized about 70 animals from her home the year before.


In that case, Justice Joseph Jabar had also ordered a lifetime ban on Murphy having animals.

Murphy, who represented herself with help from attorney Margot Joly, told the jury in her opening statements Wednesday and when she testified, that the 2004 animal cruelty case against her was void. There was no search warrant, and she was not afforded notice or due process before her animals were seized or killed, she said. She never signed anything and was never given documentation, she said.

Murphy did say she was given a search warrant in October 2014 but claimed it was false.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins entered signed orders and documents into evidence that included Murphy’s signature. Murphy said it was not her signature.

Robbins told the jury they would hear testimony from three witnesses that Murphy violated the court order in 2014. To find Murphy guilty, the jury would have find that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Murphy violated the order.

Murphy told the jury she had no obligation to obey a void order because there was no initial case in 2004, which led to the other cases. She also filed a jurisdictional challenge two years ago and had not heard back from the court, she said.


State police Detective Christopher Crawford testified he was assigned to investigate a possible contempt of court order in 2014. He talked to Murphy’s neighbors and was shown a photo of Murphy walking a dog. He also talked to an owner of a grain store and saw a veterinary bill.

Animal Welfare District Humane Agent Angela Young said a neighbor contacted the department and had photos of Murphy with a dog. She gathered evidence and applied for a search warrant from the court.

When the warrant was executed, they seized four dogs, five chinchillas, two rabbits, two cats and a potbellied pig. They also seized feed, animal medication, dog treats and paperwork pertaining to the animals. A majority of the animals were in crates or cages, Young said.

Murphy told the jury that one of those dogs seized was her service dog that was in the process of being trained.

The jury heard testimony for most of the day before beginning deliberations at about 3:20 p.m.

Sentencing was set for 9:30 a.m. Nov. 29 at Franklin County Superior Court. A conviction on the charge carries a penalty of up to 364 days in jail.

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