FARMINGTON — 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.

 

Betty Jespersen — 778-6991

[email protected]