A New Sharon woman is free on bail awaiting sentencing on a contempt of court conviction in a jury trial Wednesday in Franklin County court for violating a 2010 ban on her possessing animals.

But Assistant District Attorney Joshua Robbins said the case against Carol Murphy, 71, of Lane Road, New Sharon, could stretch into next year if she appeals the conviction, as she told a judge Wednesday that she would.

Robbins said the contempt conviction Wednesday stems from incidents that happened between January and September 2014, in which witnesses said she was seen with animals. He said it took two years to get the case to court because Murphy allegedly failed to appear in court on two occasions during that period and spent more than four months in jail for a traffic violation.

On Oct. 1, 2014, during a search warrant carried out by police, Murphy was found in possession of four dogs, a cat, a pot-bellied pig, chinchillas and a rabbit. Murphy was summoned for contempt of court and her trial was scheduled for June 2015, but she didn’t appear, according to published reports.

Murphy already has spent time in prison for a number of animal-related offenses, along with a felony conviction for assault on a state trooper with a stun gun.

Murphy’s conviction of assault on a state trooper came after he went to her home in 2009 while investigating a report that she had animals in violation of a 2005 ban, according to a published report. Murphy used a stun gun on the trooper’s neck when he tried to arrest her on a warrant for unpaid fines.

Murphy, in a 2012 court filing describing that incident, claimed the trooper was trespassing on her property “and attempted to unconstitutionally curtail my liberty by handcuffing me.”

When Murphy was searched at the jail, she was found to be carrying a 4-inch double-bladed knife. Robbins said Murphy was sentenced to serve four years in prison on the assault charge, none of which was suspended. Sentences for other convictions involving animals were served at the same time as the felony assault conviction.

In 2005, Murphy was convicted on one count of animal cruelty and four counts of possession without a permit after officials seized dozens of pets from her home. She was sentenced to 24 hours in jail, ordered to pay restitution and forbidden to own animals. The animals were being abused and were living in unhealthy and inhumane conditions where the air quality was poor and reeked of ammonia, according to court documents. Few animals had water or food in their cages, and a pig’s cage was so small the pig could not turn around, prosecutors said.

In 2010 she was convicted again of animal cruelty after law enforcement officers had found more than 40 emaciated pets at her home and a ban was imposed again.

The new charge in court Wednesday was that she again had animals in violation of the latest ban issued in March 2010.

“The judgment and commitment order included a prohibition against ever owning or possessing or keeping animals again,” Robbins said by phone Thursday.

The contempt charge, as a misdemeanor charge, could land Murphy in jail for up to 364 days and possibly require her to pay fines. Robbins said she told Justice William Stokes in court that she would appeal the contempt conviction. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 29.

“The judge already has indicated in open court that he would likely leave her out on bail if she files an appeal, which she did indicate she would file,” Robbins said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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