Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Turnpike Killer, paroled four months ago, charged with burglary, larceny, assault and DUI

Less than four months after an early parole from a state prison in Oklahoma, Turnpike Killer Paul Wesley Murray may be headed back to the big house.

Murray, one of two juveniles responsible for the January 1994 death of Sheila Mayfield, 25, Jasper, on the Will Rogers Turnpike, ix being in held in lieu of $100,000 bond at the Ottawa County Jail after being arrested Nov. 30 on charges of burglary, larceny, driving under the influence, and assault and battery

Murray, who was not scheduled to be eligible for parole until January, was released in August, according to Oklahoma Department of Corrections records. And this is not the first time, Oklahoma officials have released Murray even before his parole hearing was scheduled.

From the Oct. 4, 2008, Turner Report:

Paul Wesley Murray, one of two men responsible for the January 1994 murder of Sheila Mayfield, 25, Jasper, is back in prison, less than one year after the state of Oklahoma, for some reason, let him out even before his parole hearing was scheduled.

And already a January 2009 parole hearing is scheduled for Murray, according to Oklahoma Bureau of Corrections records. Murray, 30, was returned to the Lawton Correctional Facility July 22 after his parole was revoked, according to bureau records.

Oklahoma online court records do not indicate what it was that Murray did to bring about his return to prison, though he was charged with threatening someone with violence in December 2007. Those charges were dismissed in March, according to Ottawa County records.

Sheila Mayfield, her sister, Shelly Wells, and her grandmother, Velta Ball, were returning from a Miami, Okla., hospital where Sheila and Shelly's mother, Peggy Gordon, was recovering from surgery. They were less than one mile from the Missouri state line when a rock was thrown from the overpass, crashing through the windshield and killing Sheila instantly.

As mentioned in the June 8 2005, Turner Report, two teens were arrested for the murder. One, 15-year-old Benji Trammel, pleaded guilty, was sent to a juvenile correctional facility, was released when he turned 18, and the crime was removed from his record. As noted earlier today in The Turner Report, Trammel has been charged with domestic abuse and battery and has a plea hearing scheduled for Nov.17.

More than five years passed before Paul Murray, who was 16 at the time of the murder, finally pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree. He was initially charged with first degree murder after Oklahoma officers found a notebook in his school locker which depicted the same scenario which had claimed Sheila Mayfield's life. Later, the charge was downgraded to second degree murder, to get Murray to enter his plea and to finally bring the case to a close.

Murray entered an Alford plea, meaning he conceded there was enough evidence to convict him, but he was not saying he was actually guilty. As a part of the plea agreement, as The Carthage Press reported in John Hacker's story in the Feb. 2, 1999, issue, Murray's sentence was to be reviewed in 120 days and if he maintained good behavior during that time, his sentence would be reduced from 15 to only five years in prison. He was freed after that four-month period. No five-year sentence, just the four months. Murray was released after four months despite a pre-sentence investigation which said he remained a "danger and a threat to the community and himself."

As of mid-summer 1999, Paul Murray was a free man. His brushes with the law did not end. On March 12, 2002, he pleaded guilty to a public intoxication charge. Four months later, he was stopped and charged with not wearing a seat belt. On March 10, 2003, it was failure to pay child support.Finally, and no information is available from court records as to what ended up sending Murray to prison, it was determined that he had violated the terms of his parole and he was sent to prison.

Murray's original sentence was scheduled to last until 2013. It would probably be too much to expect Sooner State officials to actually keep him behind bars for more than a few days.

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