FARMINGTON — A New Sharon woman, convicted on a contempt of court charge on Nov. 16 for violating an order banning her from having animals, was given a one-year prison sentence Friday.

The sentence for Carol Murphy, 72, is under a stay of execution pending her appeal of the case, Franklin County Superior Court Justice William Stokes said.

Murphy has already appealed the recent conviction to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Although Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins sought a sentence of six months, Stokes ordered the maximum penalty allowed.

Sentencing was delayed earlier this week after Murphy requested Stokes read the transcripts from court actions against her, dating back to 2004. She claimed they were void because there was no search warrant when state officials first came on to her property in 2004, they damaged fences, took her animals and killed her horse. 

“You can’t be on my property without a warrant and affidavit,” Murphy said. The actions taken make the initial and all subsequent court actions void because they were based on an illegal search, she said.

Advertisement

“This is not Nazi Germany,” she said.

Stokes spent three days reading all the testimony but said he could not see Murphy as the victim. He indicated Murphy refused to take responsibility and instead weaves the story to make herself the victim while taxing the court’s time and resources.

There were two court orders of lifetime bans prohibiting Murphy from possessing animals as part the sentences given, he said.

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.

Justice Michaela Murphy sentenced Murphy to four years in prison for the premeditated attack and nine months each on the cruelty to animal charges.

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

Advertisement

Another jury found Murphy guilty of cruelty to animals in 2005. Justice Joseph Jabar also ordered a lifetime ban on Murphy having animals, Stokes said.

Neighbors complained to Maine Animal Welfare agents in 2014 that Murphy had animals. She was charged with contempt of court after the agents and state and county law enforcement executed a search warrant and seized 14 animals from her property on Oct. 1, 2014.

Last month, a jury deliberated 30 minutes before finding her guilty. The jury had to determine the evidence proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Murphy had violated the court order, Stokes said. 

Attorney Margot Joly, who assisted Murphy, asked Stokes to consider how the initial actions taken by officials in 2004 prompted the ongoing slew of court wrangling.

“If I came  home from work and found my fences broken and my horse dead and lying without a head, I don’t know what I would do,” Joly said.

From his reading of the transcripts, Stokes said both justices voiced what horrid conditions the animals were kept in. A state veterinarian found the horse without food or water, unable to stand and lying in mud, feces and urine, he said. 

Demonstrating potential symptoms of rabies, the horse was killed and the head taken for testing, Stokes said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.