Trial begins for man accused of brutal assault on Smithfield woman

LOGAN — The 12-day jury trial for Anthony C. Murphy, a 51-year-old Smithfield man accused of brutally assaulting a woman in 2009, began Tuesday in 1st District Court.

The jury of nine people and one alternate were selected during the morning and early afternoon, before attorneys began their opening arguments.

Later, prosecutors described how Murphy reportedly raped the alleged victim after getting into an argument with her over text messages. The woman claimed she went to bed after the argument and was later awakened by the defendant who brutally assaulted her physically and sexually. The assault lasted several hours during which he reportedly threatened to kill her as she begged him to stop.

Prosecutors also told the jurors how the defendant allegedly assaulted several other women in Kentucky, Florida and most recently in Salt Lake.

Defense attorneys argued that the victim made up the allegations and continued changing her story as she was interviewed multiple times by law enforcement officers. They also said detectives investigating the case tampered with evidence.

Murphy was arrested in June 2009 and later charged with aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony and aggravated assault, a third-degree felony. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.

In September 2009, Murphy’s bail was reduced from $75,000 to $35,000, allowing him to be released on pre-trial supervision. At that time, Judge Thomas Willmore ordered him to have no contact with the alleged victim and not to consume any alcohol.

Four years later, days before his trial was to begin, Murphy was arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute and assaulting the woman in a Salt Lake motel room. He was later sentenced to serve six-months in jail and transferred back to the Cache County Jail to await his earlier trail.

During testimony on Tuesday, Dr. Kyle Hancock, a clinical psychologist, explained about violence in abusive relationships and the effects of trauma on a person’s memory.

The trial continues Wednesday when the victim is expected to testify.

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