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Man convicted in shooting that followed feud

April 25, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A two-year feud that erupted in gunfire left one man wounded in the square at Downsville last fall and another facing a possible five-year prison sentence Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court.

William F. Murray Jr. was found guilty of reckless endangerment by a jury of five women and seven men after less than two hours of deliberations.

That jury acquitted Murray of first- and second-degree assault charges and a weapons violation.

In a rare comment on a jury's decision, Judge Frederick Wright said he understood how the jurors came to their decision.

"If the victim hadn't gone to Mr. Murray's home, this wouldn't have happened. ... He was looking for a confrontation," Wright said. "But that doesn't excuse the action of Mr. Murray."

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Wright delayed sentencing and allowed Murray to remain free.

Murray, 37, of 16508 Spielman Road, took the stand and admitted he fired four rounds from his 12-gauge shotgun over the head of Terry Lee Boward on Sept. 25 around 4 a.m.

Murray testified he then lowered the shotgun and fired the fifth and final round in the direction of Boward, hitting him in the stomach and legs.

"I thought my life was in danger," Murray said. "His hand was behind his back. I aimed low ... I didn't want to kill him."

A full day of testimony painted a disturbing picture of two couples and how a failed love affair between the husband of one couple and the wife of the other led to confrontations that escalated over two years.

Carolyn Boward, who lives at 14708 Falling Waters Road in Williamsport with her husband, testified she drove him to the Murray residence at 4 a.m. on Sept. 25.

The reason for that trip was described as revenge for two broken windows on Boward vehicles earlier that morning, testimony revealed.

With no proof that Murray was responsible for the vandalism, Carolyn Boward said they decided to go.

"We knew he did it," Carolyn Boward testified.

Terry Boward said he had about 12 beers at his home earlier that evening and was watching television when his wife told him about the broken car windows.

"We figured we knew who did it, so we decided to ride by there that night," Terry Boward said.

The crux of the feud was a one-year relationship between Terry Boward and Brenda Murray that began when they both worked at Garden State Tanning and ended two years ago, according to testimony.

Brenda Murray testified Boward and his wife have both followed her and harassed her on many occasions in the past two years.

Defense attorney Greg Bannon introduced registered letters and court orders that didn't keep Terry Boward away from the Murrays.

"Terry Boward went looking for trouble that morning and he got it," Bannon told the jury, advancing his argument that Murray acted in self-defense.

The state contended that Murray used excessive force.

"Mr. Boward had no business being there that night," said Washington County State's Attorney Ken Long. "But Mr. Murray had no business shooting him."

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