LOGAN — A judge has refused to lower bail for a 40-year-old Malad City, Idaho man suspected of sexually extorting a disabled woman in Hyrum. Judge Jeremiah Humes ordered Travis S. Murray to remain in jail on $25,000 bail.
Murray participated in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, appearing 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.
Public defender Joseph Saxton asked Judge Humes, who is temporarily filling in for the retired Judge Thomas Willmore, to lower his client’s bail. He said Murray was on a limited income.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray objected to Saxton’s request. He told the court, Murray has a criminal history in Utah, Idaho and Texas, and no ties to Cache Valley.
Judge Humes agreed with Murray. He scheduled a preliminary hearing for July 14, where he will determine whether the suspect will be bound over for trial.
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.
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.
Murray could face up to five years in prison if convicted.