HR man sentenced to 9 months for shooting incident



A Hood River man received a nine-month jail sentence last week after pleading guilty to shooting and injuring a teenage woman on Mitchell Point Drive earlier this year.

Joseph Gene Murray, 26, was sentenced to nine months in jail with no credit for time served for shooting Christina Edwards, of Hood River, at his Mitchell Point Drive residence on January 3. Edwards, who was 18 at the time, sustained non-life threatening injuries in the shooting incident.

Murray was originally arrested on charges of assault in the second degree, unlawful use of a weapon, recklessly endangering another person, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He was also arrested for violating the terms of his probation stemming from another incident involving a firearm in August 2013 when Murray reportedly shot and broke a picture window in the Cascade Avenue Subway sandwich shop. Murray has been housed at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional (NORCOR) facility in The Dalles since early January and was originally held on $5,000 bail.

Initially, Murray pleaded not guilty to the Jan. 2014 shooting and the case was proceeding through trial when Murray switched his plea to guilty after “an impromptu settlement conference” according to Judge John Wolf during Murray’s sentencing hearing at the Hood River County Courthouse. The settlement reduces the second-degree assault charge to a third-degree charge. In addition to the 9-month sentence, Murray also received probation time for possession of methamphetamine and recklessly endangering another person.

Deputy District Attorney Carrie Rasmussen noted during the hearing, however, that “there’s an ongoing investigation of the gun and its whereabouts” and there was “a contingency in the plea offer that the defendant meet with law enforcement” to discuss information about the weapon Rasmussen believed Murray had.

Wolf told Murray he had made a good decision by taking the plea offer, which downgraded the second-degree assault charge — a Measure 11 offense that would have resulted in a minimum sentence of 70 months in prison. It was mentioned that Murray had a 10-year-old daughter, and Wolf informed Murray during the hearing that “not taking the deal certainly puts you at risk of not getting out of prison until about the time she starts to drive.”

Murray spoke few words during the sentencing other than to enter his pleas and to refuse an opportunity to speak on his own behalf that had been presented to him by Wolf. Little information was given during both the arraignment earlier this year and the sentencing last week regarding the exact nature of the incident and Murray’s relationship with the named victim.

Wolf did note, though, that “despite the incident” Edwards had seemed “very supportive” of Murray and did not expect her to request restitution. Wolf also alluded that the incident had stemmed from Murray’s improper handling of the gun.

“You violated a couple of critical rules of handling a firearm: You failed to assume it was loaded, and you pointed it at someone you weren’t willing to kill or destroy,” he told Murray. “Those two things you shouldn’t do.”

According to NORCOR’s website, Murray is scheduled for release at the end of July 2015.

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