Mayor, Councilors Will Try To Settle Out Of Court

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A pre-trial settlement conference has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16 regarding the phone harassment charges pending against Payson Mayor Ken Murphy.

The mayor was charged with two counts of intimidating, threatening or harassing with a telephone for calls placed to Town Councilors Barbara Brewer and Judy Beuttner on June 27. Murphy allegedly used profanity in accusing the two women of spreading rumors about his then-fiancée.

Brewer, who obtained a court order against harassment after the incident, said she is willing to attempt to resolve the matter amicably.

"(The settlement conference) was recommended by our county attorneys and I'm willing to do what they recommend," Brewer said. "They know what's best, and if we can do something civilly, that's fine."

Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores explained the procedure.

"It's going to be with the victims, Murphy, his attorney, and the Superior Court Judge Peter DeNinno," she said. "We do these often on the felony side. All settlement conferences are closed to the public. What happens in the conference is confidential, but the results -- whether it's dismissal or conviction -- that would be public."

If no settlement is reached, Murphy's trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 29.

Murphy and Brewer are among four candidates seeking the office of mayor in the town's primary election March 9.

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