A Bridgeport man accused of raping a live-in relative, who was not his significant other, was set to begin trial on Tuesday, but a change of heart has changed how things will proceed from here.
All of the alleged actions happened in Bridgeport on January 9th. Belmont County Court Officials said Michael Murphy was accused of coming home after a night of drinking and groping a family member who was asleep. The question that would have been sought out during his trial is whether or not Murphy actually penetrated the victim in the case, prior to being awaken from their slumber.
In court on Friday, Murphy decided to change his mind and his plea, just prior to his trial that would have started at 8:30 Tuesday morning. He willingly entered a guilty plea to two counts against him and they could bring about a 3 year sentence.
“I do find the defendant guilty of both charges in this matter … Gross sexual imposition and aggravated assault each felonies of the fourth degree. I find the defendant guilty,” said Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato.
Following the Judges findings, he cancelled the trial and set Murphy for sentencing on April 13th at 8:30.
Regardless of his sentence Judge Fregiato said in court that Murphy will be classified as a tier 1 sex offender and will require him to register as such for 15 years. He will also be subject to 5 years of probation once his sentence has ended.