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News Feature

Ellsworth
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 10, 2019
Ex-Blue Hill treasurer theft case headed for trial

In court

Former Blue Hill town treasurer Jody Murphy appears in Hancock County Superior Court January 7, with her attorney Max Coolidge.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

Former Blue Hill town treasurer Jody Murphy was in Hancock County Superior Court January 7, 10 months after she was charged with taking $17,960 in town funds. Judge Robert Murray granted a continuance, scheduling her next court appearance for March 4.

“At that point, I will anticipate both parties will be ready to proceed [with a trial],” Judge Murray said.

Murphy, 39, was charged on March 13, 2018 with one count of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer, following a three-month investigation led by Detective Stephen McFarland of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office. She was indicted on August 9, 2018, and pleaded not guilty at her arraignment on August 16, 2018.

Court documents filed by Murphy’s attorney Max Coolidge on October 4, 2018 indicated the parties were trying to come to a plea arrangement, with Coolidge writing in a motion to continue, “[Deputy District] Attorney [Toff] Toffolon and I are engaged in negotiation for possible resolution to this matter.”

However, Toffolon told Judge Murray that resolution was no longer possible. “Max [Coolidge] and I have worked diligently to satisfy competing interests” but “reached a recent impasse and are convinced this can only be decided by a jury.”

Toffolon requested the latest continuance, citing increased difficulty when a town, with its board of selectmen, are plaintiffs and the “document-intensive” case.

Murphy, who began working for the town of Blue Hill in 2014, allegedly stole the money by taking cash from municipal and transfer station deposits and by adding unauthorized stipends to her paychecks.

She was placed on administrative leave October 5, 2017 and resigned her position November 16, 2017 after meeting in executive session with the board of selectmen.