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April 14, 2004 - The Edwardsville Intelligencer (IL)

Sentences Handed Down To Murphys

By Steve Horrell, Staff Writer

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Darron Murphy Sr. was sentenced Tuesday to 19 1/2 years in federal prison for beating an undercover agent and for selling crack cocaine.

Murphy, 44, of the 900 block of Surrey Drive in Edwardsville, had been found guilty by a federal jury of pistol whipping an undercover agent, sticking a gun in her mouth, and threatening to kill her.

Prosecutors said Murphy Sr. knew the informant would testify against his son at his upcoming drug trial and tried to intimidate her. Murphy's sentencing was the first of three sentencings before Chief Judge Patrick Murphy. Darron Murphy Sr.'s accomplice in the beating, 21-year-old Jennifer Baker, was sentenced Tuesday to 6 1/2 years in prison.

Shortly after Baker was led away by marshals, Darron Murphy Jr., 24, entered the courtroom and was sentenced to 15 1/2 years on drugs and weapons charges. At his sentencing, Murphy Sr. said he had documents that would prove that at his trial in October jurors were "railroaded" into convicting Baker and him by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ralph Friederich.

"They couldn't find any fingerprints on the guns," he said. "I didn't touch 'em. They said I supposedly beat her. I didn't. I had no drugs on me."

Judge Murphy told Darron Murphy Sr. that he will probably die in federal prison. "The chance of living much past age 60 in federal prison is slim," he said. "But where there is life there is hope and if you survive your time in federal prison, why wouldn't you have the hope of life and freedom?

There are people in prison who have done more and received less. I don't want to take away all hope from you."

Murphy Sr. told Judge Murphy that he will appeal the sentencing. He must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

The attack occurred May 23 at a crack house -- actually a trailer that has since been demolished -- in the 5400 block of Chain of Rocks Road near Granite City. A Madison County Sheriff's deputy found the undercover agent in her car, bleeding profusely.

She told the deputy that in addition to Murphy's attack, she was also hit several times by Baker. Jennifer Baker apologized to the undercover agent and told Murphy that she was only trying to help people in the crack house and had no intention of harming anyone or selling drugs.

Baker acknowledged that she should stayed away from Darron Murphy Sr. "I never have been in this kind of situation in my life," she said. "I'm sorry I let myself get into a situation like this . . . I didn't do what I had to do to stay away from him. I'm sorry." But Judge Murphy said Baker was complicit in the attack and that she is fortunate the undercover agent didn't die.

"A few things happen different and you would have been involved in a murder," he said. "Once you get up side somebody's head with a weapon, you aren't far away from a murder."

The judge admonished Baker to stay away from the Murphys when she does leave prison. "I still think you're more foolish than malicious," he said. "I don't think you get up in the morning and figure out how to scam people. (But) you have no judgement about human nature. . . You're going to have to live differently. If you take up with your old friends, the marshals will be out to get you."

Before Baker was led away, Carrie Murphy, Darron Murphy Jr.'s grandmother asked to address the court.

She criticized the undercover agent for "setting up" her son and grandson. "She's still out there, and she's still one of the biggest cons in Edwardsville," she said. "She's not innocent, by any means. The good Lord will take care of her."

The federal charges against Darron Murphy Jr. stem from a 2002 raid on the Murphy home on Surrey. Court documents show that the father and son regularly sold marijuana and cocaine, and sometimes sold it from the single-story ranch-style home. According to records, a MEGSI agent, posing as a buyer, approached the home on the afternoon of Dec. 10 and bought a bag of rock crack cocaine.

Two days later, the agent made another buy. The next day agents returned with a search warrant and entered the basement and found, inside a shoe box on the ping pong table, 18.7 grams of cocaine, 18.7 grams of crack cocaine, and 300 grams of marijuana.

They also seized a triple beam scale, a bong, drug paraphernalia, and a glass jar filled with marijuana.

Tucked between a mattress upstairs, agents found a Piettro Beretta 9 mm handgun, and in a closet, police say they found a .22 calibre rifle. On Tuesday, Murphy, Jr. apologized to the court.

He declined to appeal the sentence but Judge Murphy told him he can do so within 10 days. "You've made a lot of bad decisions," he said. "I hope you do something with what you have left of life. I really do."

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