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Former Ukiah police sergeant pleads no contest to one felony, one misdemeanor

A painting of Blind Justice holding a scale in her left hand and a sword in her right, between the seals for the County of Mendocino and the State of California.
Lady Justice, as depicted across from the fifth floor landing of the courthouse in Ukiah.

Kevin Murray, originally charged with eight counts, among them three sex crimes, pled no contest to intimidation and false imprisonment.

July 8, 2022 — Kevin Murray, the former Ukiah police sergeant facing seven felonies and one misdemeanor, pled no contest to one felony and one misdemeanor at a pretrial conference late Thursday afternoon. He has not been sentenced, but he is facing anywhere between what the judge hinted would be the likely outcome of two years felony probation or the possibility of three or four years in jail. The date for his jury trial, originally set for July 18, has been vacated. Presiding Judge Ann Moorman took the bench in Courtroom H, where Judge Carly Dolan usually presides, and ordered Murray to report to a probation officer within three days. Murray has served a total of 60 days in custody, and Moorman told the court she was “not inclined to add custodial time,” indicating that she prefers the option of supervised probation.

Murray was originally charged with committing five felonies on November 25, 2020, but pled no contest to one that did not appear in the original charging documents: that of willfully engaging in intimidation to dissuade a female victim of a crime from reporting the crime. The victim in this case is a woman identified only as “S.Y.” MendoFever previously reported that the City of Ukiah settled with S.Y. for $250,000, and quoted then-Chief Noble Waidelich as saying that the settlement “admits no liability for the City or its employees.” Waidelich himself is being investigated by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on separate assault charges.

Murray also pled no contest Thursday to a misdemeanor charge for false imprisonment of a woman identified only as Jane Doe, sometime between June 1 and July 31 of 2014. He was originally charged with a forcible rape alleged to have taken place on June 1 of that year.

The original five felonies of November 25 were one charge of sexual battery, and two charges each of first-degree burglary and burglary with others present. He also faced a felony charge of forced oral copulation, alleged to have occurred on April 10 of 2014. His original misdemeanor charge was possession of a controlled substance. Because the sex crimes were dismissed, Murray will not have to register as a sex offender.

However, his status as a felon would mean that he would have a strike against him, which would have sentencing repercussions if he were to be charged with any future felonies. It also means he will never be allowed to own a firearm, ammunition, or a variety of other weapons for the rest of his life. Murray had previous difficulties with this requirement early last year, when he was ordered to surrender his firearms and only gave up four handguns and a rifle with a scope. At that time, he was facing an allegation of committing a sexual assault while armed with an assault weapon.

A month after he submitted paperwork to the court saying he had surrendered all of his weapons, investigators discovered that he had hidden an assault rifle at his father-in-law’s house in Lake County. This led to Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster requesting that Murray’s bail for charges of rape and forcible oral copulation be recalled and increased from $200,000 to $500,000.

Though Murray was fired by the Ukiah Police Department in late January of last year, his relationship with the the city and the police department is not over yet. Former UPD officer Isabel Siderakis is suing Murray, the city, and the police department in civil court on four counts of sexual harassment and hostile work environment, discrimination, retaliation, and failure to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Siderakis now works for the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and was present in court all afternoon during the pretrial conference. It is unclear at this time what bearing Murray’s status as a felon will have on the upcoming civil case Siderakis is bringing against him.

Murray brought considerable legal firepower to the criminal matter leading to Thursday’s plea arrangement. Court documents indicate that he is represented by five attorneys, led by Stephen Gallenson, who sat beside him in court on Thursday. The prosecutor is Deputy Mendocino County District Attorney Heidi Larson.

Murray is scheduled to be sentenced on August 24.

Pandemic news mixed, with new contagious variants and free

And now we’ll turn to pandemic news, which is a little mixed. The new variants are highly contagious but not as virulent as some of earlier strains. However, Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren said studies are showing that the risk of long term damage to the brain and nervous system are more serious than scientists previously understood.

Within the last ten days, hospitalizations fluctuated between three and seven.

Earlier this week, Coren said that even with FDA approval, the uptake in vaccines for 5-11 year olds is “very slow.” Children under five are being vaccinated at the clinics, and the county doesn’t have data on how many of the youngest children in the community have gotten the shot.

Some test sites have now expanded their offerings to include treatment, in a program called test to treat, where patients take a rapid test under the observation of a healthcare professional. If they test positive, they can consult with a doctor either onsite or remotely via telehealth, to determine if they should receive a prescription for paxlovid, one of the treatments for mild to moderate covid infection. Patients are not guaranteed to receive the treatment, even if they do test positive. But if the doctor does dispense the prescription, the patient receives the medication on-site and can begin treatment the same day.

The Optum Serve test site at the Ukiah fairgrounds is a test to treat site, open Saturday through Thursday, 9 am-5pm, closed for lunch around 1:00. Walk-ins are welcome, though appointments are encouraged.

The other test to treat site in Mendocino County is in Gualala, at the Redwood Coast Medical Services clinic on Ocean Drive. For apointments, call (707) 884-4005.

KZYX spoke with a patient who availed herself of the test to treat service at the Ukiah fairgrounds this week. She reported that she spoke with a doctor via telehealth, and that she was not asked for payment or for insurance information.

We’ll be airing excerpts from today’s covid briefing on our newscast tonight at six pm, where you can also catch our new bilingual segment.

Local News
Sarah Reith came to Mendocino County in 2008 and worked as a reporter and freelancer, joining KZYX as a community news reporter in 2017. She became the KZYX News Director in March, 2023.