LOGAN — A warrant has been issued for a 40-year-old Malad City, Idaho man who confessed to sexually extorting a disabled woman in Hyrum and then fled before being sentenced. The arrest warrant was issued after Travis S. Murray failed to appear again for sentencing Tuesday morning.
In July, Murray pleaded guilty to sexual extortion and stalking, both third-degree felonies. As part of a plea deal, in exchange for his guilty plea, attorneys agreed to ask the court to allow for the defendant’s release from jail until sentencing.
During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing in 1st District Court, public defender Joseph Saxton said he had been in contact with Murray but didn’t have an excuse for his absence.
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.
While speaking with investigators, the victim called Murray during a recorded phone call. During the conversation, he apologized for his actions, blaming it on “spiteful rage.”
The woman explained that she met Murray on Facebook about two years ago, after she came out of a coma as a paraplegic with a traumatic brain injury. The two had a prior relationship until Murray was arrested on another case.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, Judge Thomas Willmore issued the no bail warrant for Murray. It orders law enforcement to hold the defendant in jail until he can appear again in court.
Murray could face up to five years in prison.