Monday, May 29, 2023

In the Eleventh Hour, Court Delays the Sentencing Hearing of Disgraced Ukiah Police Sergeant Kevin Murray

Protest signs outside the Mendocino County court house as the former UPD Sergeant’s sentencing hearing approached [Pictures by Peter Armstrong]

A Mendocino County judge unexpectedly announced a delay Wednesday in the scheduled sentencing of Kevin Murray, a former Ukiah Police sergeant in a high-profile police misconduct case that has stirred controversy.

Superior Court Judge Ann Moorman offered no explanation, nor set another sentencing date. Murray, 38, will be sentenced at a ‘date to be determined,’ according to Moorman’s order filed Wednesday morning.

Courthouse personnel initially thought the delay was for “safety reasons” because of a public protest and sign display that had erupted on the sidewalk outside of the Mendocino County Courthouse a day earlier and then resumed Wednesday morning. Later in the day, however, courthouse staffers said the reason seem to shift to a “scheduling conflict” for the judge. Then there was talk the judge was suffering from a shoulder injury. The specific reason for the sentencing delay remains unclear.

Murray’s defense attorney Stephen Gallenson of Santa Rosa said Wednesday he had been informed of the delay “but I don’t know any more than you do.” District Attorney David Eyster and deputy prosecutor Heidi Larson did not respond to requests for comments.

Murray’s sentencing is caught up in controversy after a sweetheart plea bargain was announced in early July on the eve of his trial on five felony charges. Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster suddenly dropped three felony sex-related offenses, despite the independent claims of two women that are supported by the contentions of a third in a pending civil lawsuit against Murray.

Kevin Murray [Mugshot from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

Instead, the former high-ranking Ukiah police officer in July was allowed to enter ‘no contest’ pleas to a felony charge of intimidating a witness, a woman he assaulted in a Ukiah motel room in November 2020, and a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge related to a person identified in court documents only as ‘Jane Doe.’  She has been reported as a former friend of one of Murray’s former wives who lived in Lake County.  Attorney Gallenson said Wednesday that the woman in fact lived in Mendocino County, but he believes she is no longer resides in the area. That woman told investigators the officer came to her home twice in 2014 and forced her to perform oral sex on him. He had his service weapon at the time, she said.

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In addition to the sex acts outlined in the original criminal complaints, Murray is also accused by a former Ukiah police officer in a pending civil lawsuit of attempting to sexually assault her in 2012 while both were attending an out-of-town training session. She said Murray came to her motel room, fondled her breasts, and then he stripped naked. She fled to the bathroom but when she later opened the door, he was standing in front of her with an erect penis. The woman told investigators she retreated back into the bathroom and slept on the floor until she heard Murray snoring. She found him naked on her bed, and hurriedly left the room. The woman, now a Mendocino County sheriff’s deputy, contends that police department superiors turned a blind eye to her complaints.

Further, in Murray’s record is also a $1 million settlement the city of Ukiah paid to a resident who was seriously injured in 2018 during an altercation with the officer resulting from a neighborhood disturbance. Christopher Rasku, a Navy veteran, said Murray’s assault left him with four broken ribs, a punctured lung, and other injuries. 

Attorney Gallenson late last week on Murray’s behalf filed a sentencing memorandum urging the court to stick to an agreed-upon plea agreement that he said called for no jail time.

Protestors displayed American flags and expletive-laden protest signs to express their disapproval of the sentence that awaited Kevin Murray [Picture by Peter Armstrong]

County probation officers have turned over a report to the court which apparently recommends a 12-month jail term as part of probation. The probation report is not publicly available for review until post-sentencing.

Gallenson said Wednesday that he filed the memorandum last Friday to remind Judge Moorman of her apparent agreement not to impose any jail time on Murray if no surprises were uncovered by the probation office. “It was part of our negotiated agreement,” he said.

As for Murray, Gallenson said his client is eager to get past the sentencing. In his memorandum to Moorman, Gallenson said Murray has no prior convictions of any kind, and that his military background – two tours of duty in Iraq as a military policeman – and his personal history “all suggest that he will be a successful probationer.”

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  1. The State needs to step in and subpoena Eyster’s phone and emails. What he did to Wadeleich’s ex is retaliation and criminal.

  2. The County’s justice system wants you to know that your life is worth less than this pathetic cop…just swallow it!

    This grain of crap Kevin, and Patsy 2fux…Thunderdome! Fin.

    #Free2fux 🍀

    • Ugh I do not understand your reference at the end and have an aversion to your language. Could you clarify “free so-and so”? I’m just dumb I guess but I don’t get it.

  3. This counties corruption is so deep it has become a meme to the citizens who live here. David Eyster better catch cuffs or the people around here will make sure he gets his jaw wired shut again. The DAs false pretenses of cracking down less on medical marijuana has only been a facade for the “redistribution” of what they illegally seize. Half the businesses in ukiah are obviously fronts for washing cash, you would have to level the valley to erase the corruption.

    • If everyone called the feds in the same day, telling them the same stories we all know to be true , maybe someone will finally pay attention. The feds know, that’s been confirmed, but no one has forced their hand yet. I’m ready to stand!

  4. ”all suggest he will be a successful probationer”
    !!?!!??!W T F! Are you kidding me? What part of gun to head with penis in mouth rings probation material?!
    Un#$@!ing real.

  5. Thank you protesters!!! I hope your efforts have struck some shame & fear into the hearts & minds of those who rule over that gangrene courthouse!!…
    23 years ago, when I was 21, I received 2 days in jail & 300 hours of community service for a DUI. & I deserved it! This fuckin fraud has committed far worse crimes & caused life long trauma to his victims! Not to mention a healthy distrust in police that was wavering anyways. If I had to serve time, both in & out of jail, for being stupid & reckless, then this animal needs to be in prison for being a sexual predator & a danger to society!

  6. This all cries foul! It is unfathomable to even read more of this sick story. To praise a rapist is disgusting. To even state he deserves kudos for being in the US Navy is insane. No honorable sailor would dare commit such heinous crimes! To boast of going to a 30 day program is a joke. If you actually compare the dates of sobriety with the date of his known crimes there is a problem. Seems Mr. Murray may have continued to commit felonies after being allegedly sober. But this is more than likely all for show. Mr. Murray is not the only player in this saga of disgusting behavior. This entire case should never have been heard by DA Eyster. It’s not only unethical, it’s unprofessional and undermining to the residents of this county. Does he actually believe he was right when he took this case? Not only did he take the case, he gave the perpetrator of 3 sexual assaults the deal of the century and now he’s just about to walk. This is just one case. There are others. Eyster needs to be held accountable for his misuse of power, his unjust deal making and his inability to prosecute period. Who’s watching out there. When is it time for this county to call out the foul players? It’s only getting worse!

    • shEyster /ˈʃaɪstər/ (possibly spelled like schiester, scheister, shiester, etc.) is a slang word for someone who acts in a disreputable, unethical, or unscrupulous way, especially in the practice of law, sometimes also politics or economics.

  7. He’s going to get off! All the BS that’s going on stalling tactics etc, it’s all in Eysters and corrupt judges plan. Murray has dirt on people and he’s using it. Who’s protecting him?
    Who does he have dirt on? There all dirty starting with the city manager, city council, mayor on down.

  8. The “other” case, involving Two Feathers Steele has also been delayed. What is going on here? I also feel his charge of second degree murder is not severe enough. Why are these perps getting velvet glove treatment?

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