The Pryor Times

April 20, 2013

Plea changed during jury deliberations

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

— Thursday marked the last day of Dennis Murray’s jury trial. Murray was charged with kidnapping and his trial was described in Thursday’s paper.

Each attorney was given time for closing arguments before the jury was given their instructions.

 In her closing statements public defender Jacqueline Rhodes implored the jury to consider the weight of their decision.

“There have been a lot of maybe’s in this case. You cannot maybe someone into prison and take their freedom away,” said Rhodes. “Put your emotion aside and don't make a snap decision.”

Again she outlined the discrepancies in the case, specifically the alleged victim’s testimony. She described the girl as a juvenile runaway who would have created or embellished any manner of things to avoid being taken back home.

“I ask you, jury, not to make a snap decision based on this man’s past, that’s not justice,” said Rhodes.

As had been discussed in prior questioning Murray had a criminal record that included failing to register as a sexual offender, sexual battery, peeping tom and grand larceny.

The jury deliberated for several hours. They sent out a note first asking to review a video that was included as evidence one more time. Later, they sent out a note asking what would happen if they could not agree on a verdict.

They deliberated well into Thursday evening.

Before the jury could reach a verdict, Murray changed his plea. At that time he elected to enter a plea of guilty to attempted kidnaping.

He was then sentenced to five years

in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. He was ordered to pay a $500 fine and a $250 victims compensation assessment. Judge McBride specified that Murray will register as a lifetime sexual offender.

Had the jury been unable to reach a unanimous decision it would have been considered a mistrial and the case would have to start over again.