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Judge gives feuding shooter suspended sentence

June 01, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Attributing some blame to the victim for a shooting incident in the square at Downsville last fall, Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright gave the shooter a three-year suspended prison sentence Thursday.

William F. Murray Jr. was placed on probation for five years, ordered to have no firearms in his home and no contact with the victim.

"Justice has to be tempered with mercy," Wright said. "The victim chose to come to your home that night ... he shouldn't have been there."

Wright ordered no restitution to be paid to Terry Lee Boward, who spent four days in the hospital with his wounds.

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A jury on April 25 found Murray, 37, of 16508 Spielman Road, guilty of reckless endangerment, but acquitted him of first- and second-degree assault and weapons charges.

His two-year feud with Boward erupted in gunfire in the square at Downsville last fall.

At the trial, Murray took the stand and admitted he fired four rounds from his 12-gauge shotgun over Boward's head on Sept. 25 at 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 at his trial. "His hand was behind his back. I aimed low ... I didn't want to kill him."

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.

Carolyn Boward testified at the trial she drove her husband from their home at 14708 Falling Waters Road in Williamsport to the Murray residence, seeking revenge for two broken windows on Boward vehicles earlier that day.

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

"There is tremendous animosity between these two families," Washington County State's Attorney Kenneth Long said Thursday. "The court needs to tell them to leave each other alone."

Defense attorney Greg Bannon said the Murrays have put their house up for sale. But he noted that "things" are still happening, referring to a May 8 incident in which a window in the Murray home was broken by gunfire.

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