Guilty pleas expected in thrift store arson case

Rosie Mullaley
Published on January 23, 2014
A sheriff’s officer escorts Justin Murphy into the courtroom, as his lawyer Karen Rehner follows, prior to Murphy’s case being called in provincial court in St. John’s this past week.
— Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

A man suspected of setting a fire at a popular thrift shop in St. John’s last summer will likely plead guilty to the charges against him.

When Justin Murphy appeared in provincial court in St. John’s Thursday, his lawyer Karen Rehner told Judge Lori Marshall that her client’s case would be dealt with by way of speedy disposition.

The guilty pleas and sentencing are expected to go ahead Feb. 13.

Murphy, 27, faces charges of arson and failure to comply with a probation order in relation to the fire at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Kenmount Road in St. John’s around midnight on July 4, 2013.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary released a video from the scene of the fire showing a man wearing a hoodie, rummaging through bags of second-hand items left outside at the back of the store. Shortly after he left, several fires were seen in the area, and the fire department showed up shortly after.

The store sustained moderate damage and was forced to close for a few weeks for repairs.

Murphy — who has been diagnosed with developmental disorders — has been in trouble with the law before. He was sentenced to nine months in prison in July 2011 after committing several crimes, including break and enter, theft and dangerous driving.

Murphy is originally from Dildo.

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