LOGAN — Defense attorneys asked a judge to declare a mistrial Wednesday during the second day of testimony, in the trial Anthony Murphy. The 51-year-old Smithfield man is accused of brutally assaulting a woman in 2009.
Attorneys made their motion after the alleged victim testified for over three hours about her relationship with Murphy and the night he reportedly assaulted her. Towards the end of her testimony, while being questioned about a prior spouse of Murphy’s, the victim told the court that she understood that the ex-wife had shot him five times.
The shooting reportedly occurred in Florida years prior. Judge Thomas Willmore had previously ruled during an evidentiary hearing that the shooting was not relevant to the 2009 alleged assault, and prosecutors could not introduce it to jurors, unless Murphy volunteered to disclose it.
Defense attorney Shannon Demler argued that having the witness refer to the shooting was prejudicial to Murphy and denied him the right to a fair trial.
Judge Willmore later denied the defense’s motion but told jurors that the victim’s concluding testimony about the shooting was being stricken from the court’s record and not to be considered.
Earlier in the day the victim described her relationship with Murphy. She said he was a charming person, who went out of his way to take care of her. She explained how he would change though and become abusive, when drinking alcohol.
The victim then described how Murphy physically beat and sexually assaulted her, after she got into an argument with him over a text message he had received from another woman.
During testimony in the afternoon, two of the victim’s co-workers testified about her appearance the morning after the alleged assault. They explained how her face was red, swollen and bruised and she acted subdued and depressed.
Two of the officers who were assigned to the case the last to testify for the day. They described Murphy as being drunk when they visited him to investigate.
Defense attorneys argued that the officers botched their investigation by tampering with evidence.
The trial will continue Thursday with more of the investigating officers testifying. The trial is expected to last through at least next Friday.
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