Two men sentenced in unrelated gun cases

Posted Nov. 26, 2010, at 10:15 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:28 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Two men were sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court on unrelated gun charges.

Brian William Murphy, 26, of West Enfield was sentenced to three years probation for possession of a firearm after being committed to a mental institution, according to court documents. For the first month of his probation Murphy will be confined to his home.

Douglas Lee Clifford, 54, of Winslow was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court documents. Clifford also was sentenced to four months in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release for a previous conviction.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock ordered that Clifford serve three of the four months consecutively to his sentence of a year and a day.

Murphy was involuntarily committed to The Acadia Hospital in Bangor in April 2009, according to the prosecution’s version of events, to which he pleaded guilty. About two weeks later, Murphy bought a pistol from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Old Town.

On June 2, 2009, Bangor police responded to a call from security at the Bangor Mall that Murphy had reportedly threatened a guard. When the officer asked Murphy to stand up, according to the prosecution version of events, Murphy reached into a pocket of his cargo pants, removed the pistol, pointed it at his own head and pulled the trigger.

The gun did not discharge. When the pistol was examined, there was no bullet in the chamber, according to the prosecution version of events.

Murphy was indicted by a federal grand jury in October 2009 and entered a conditional guilty plea in April 2010. If a pending appeal of the judge’s denial of Murphy’s motion to suppress his statements to police were to be successful, his conviction could be reversed.

Clifford was on supervised release for a 2004 conviction of possession of a homemade bomb in July 2008 when he handled a rifle at a yard sale in Winslow, according to the prosecution’s version of events, to which he pleaded guilty. Witness accounts differed on whether Clifford or his girlfriend actually paid for the rifle, but the girlfriend said she sold it the next day to a local gun shop.

By handling the gun at the yard sale, Clifford possessed the firearm under federal law. He told investigators that he knew he was not to handle guns.

He was indicted in April 2009 and pleaded guilty to the charge five months later. The delay in sentencing was due to objections by Clifford’s attorney to the presentence report prepared by the U.S. Department of Probation and Pre-trial Services.

Clifford was sentenced by Woodcock in December 2004 to two years in prison for making a homemade bomb that contained 250 galvanized steel balls. Clifford told investigators six years ago that he intended it to be a homemade firecracker.

Both men faced maximum sentences of 10 years and fines of up to $25,000.

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