LOGAN — A 40-year-old Malad City, Idaho man suspected of sexually extorting a disabled woman in Hyrum made his initial appearance in court. Travis S. Murray was booked into the Cache County Jail earlier this month after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Murray was arraigned Tuesday morning, during a virtual hearing in 1st District Court. He appeared from jail by web conference. He has been charged with two counts of distribution of a pornographic image, sexual extortion and stalking, all third-degree felonies; along with, two counts of voyeurism, a class A misdemeanor.
According to the warrant affidavit, the alleged victim called Cache County sheriff’s deputies in May to report that Murray had been using text messages and Facebook Messenger to harass her. He had been threatening to distribute sexually explicit photos he had of her unless she continued a relationship with him.
The alleged victim provided 417 screenshots of messages that were sent between April and May at all hours of the day and night. The messages were sexual in nature, and contained explicit images the woman claimed she never consented to be taken.
In one of the messages, Murray allegedly wrote, “I’m gonna keep hounding you cuz I have nothing to lose.” Later he threatened to blackmail her unless she would meet up with him.
While speaking with investigators, the alleged victim called Murray during a recorded phone call. During the conversation, Murray admitted to sending the messages to her but said he did not distribute the photos he had tried sexually extorting her with. He later apologized for his actions, blaming it on “spiteful rage.”
The alleged victim explained that she met Murray on Facebook about two years ago, after she came out of a coma as a paraplegic with a traumatic brain injury. The two had a prior relationship until Murray was arrested on another case.
During Tuesday’s arraignment, Judge Edwin T. Peterson, who is substituting for the retired Judge Thomas Willmore, assigned Murray a public defender. He also ordered him to appear again in court June 30 for a bail hearing.
Murray remains in jail on $25,000 bail. He could face up to five years in prison if convicted.