LOGAN — A 40-year-old Malad City, Idaho man has been ordered to prison for sexually extorting a disabled Hyrum woman. Travis S. Murray was given the maximum sentence after going on the run and having a warrant issued for his arrest.
Murray was sentenced during a virtual hearing in 1st District Court Tuesday morning, appearing by web conference from jail. He previously accepted a plea agreement, pleading guilty to sexual extortion and stalking, both third-degree felonies, in exchange for being temporarily released from jail until sentencing.
In May, the victim called Cache County sheriff’s deputies 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 woman 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 she never consented to be taken.
Murray was scheduled to be sentenced previously but failed to appear for two prior hearings, prompting a judge to issue a warrant for his arrest.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, Murray told the court he didn’t deserve to go to prison because he hadn’t physically hurt anyone. He never apologized to the victim, and said he wasn’t mentally prepared to go to the Utah State Penitentiary.
Cache County Deputy Attorney Dane Murray said evidence in the case was graphic. He read several vulgar messages the defendant sent to the victim, demanding her to send him pornographic photos and videos of herself.
Judge Patrick Corum, who was temporarily filling in for a vacant judge on the bench, said this was one of the most emotionally violent and sadistic crimes he had recently seen during his 20 years on the bench in Salt Lake County. He said even though Murray didn’t have a lengthy criminal history the facts of the case warranted a prison term.
Murray was sentenced to serve a duration of no more than five years. He was also issued a criminal stalking injunction, prohibiting any further contact with the victim.