Appeal denied for Warren man

A Warren man, who was sentenced in September for arranging a meeting for sex with someone whom he thought was a 14-year-old girl, had a motion for reconsideration of sentence denied on Friday during criminal argument before Judge Gregory Hammond.

Public Defender Alan Conn, representing Joshua Murray, 27, currently incarcerated at SCI Camp Hill and not in attendance at Friday’s proceeding, told the court that Murray has no prior record. He subsequently asked for a county jail sentence.

Murray was sentenced to 21 to 72 months in a state correctional institution last month but was also sentenced as a lifetime, tier three Megan’s Law sexual offender.

District Attorney Ross McKeirnan countered by saying, “This was a sting operation.”

Hammond explained that the sentence falls within the medium to low end of the standard range. While he acknowledged that Murray had no prior record he did note that multiple felonies were involved in this incident and said that the “reports were disturbing.” He noted that Murray was not deemed a Sexually Violent Predator by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board but said that he still was a predator who “went to a hotel with condoms to have sex with a 14-year-old” and “disseminated photos to what he thought” was a 14-year-old girl.

Hammond then denied the motion.

In February, Murray, apparently choosing phone numbers at random, began asking the victim personal questions which escalated into obscene text messages and photos from Murray. The victim then contacted police. The contact occurred between Feb. 19 through Feb. 22.

He was a arrested at a motel in North Warren where police said he believed he would meet the girl for sex.

Youngsville Borough police were assisted by Conewango Township police in the investigation.