- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—SALEM — The owner of a Lawrence liquor store who thwarted a holdup last year by pulling a gun on the robber told a judge that the convicted thief deserves the maximum sentence allowed by law.

“As far as I’m concerned, Mr. Murphy got his break on that night, when I didn’t shoot him,” Lightship Liquors owner Anthony Silva wrote in a victim impact statement read during Murphy’s sentencing Monday in Salem Superior Court.

Daniel W. Murphy, 27, of 100 Marston St., Lawrence, pleaded guilty to armed assault with intent to rob and was sentenced to three to four years in state prison, the result of a plea agreement reached between his lawyer and the Essex County district attorney’s office.

He could have been sentenced to up to 20 years, and that’s what Silva had hoped to see, he wrote in a statement read in court by prosecutor Karen Hopwood, though he later said he accepts the sentence negotiated in the case.

On the evening of March 20, 2014, Silva was behind the counter when a woman walked in, walked around the store, and asked if he carried a certain size and brand of beer, Hopwood told a judge. She then left without buying anything.

A short time later, Murphy, wearing a mask, hood, gloves and dark-colored clothing, walked in with his hand down by his side.

“This is a stickup,” Murphy yelled. “I’m not (expletive) around. I’ve got a gun.”

Silva calmly pushed a silent alarm, said the prosecutor. Then, Silva pulled out a gun of his own.

“Luckily for me I was armed and Mr. Murphy ran out the door like a scared rat,” Silva wrote in his impact statement.

He said the robber made motions like he had a gun in his pocket. “I did not shoot him because I did not see the gun,” Silva said Monday afternoon. “He was fortunate. If he had taken a gun out I would have defended myself.”

Murphy and his girlfriend, Ashley Gill, were charged in attempted robbery after Lawrence police recognized the 2003 Honda with custom spoke wheels and a distinctive sticker on surveillance videos from outside the store, Hopwood told Judge Timothy Feeley.

Methuen police were also familiar with Gill and knew that she had been dating Murphy. The Lawrence detectives went to Murphy’s address and spotted the Honda, which was registered to his father.

Gill also allegedly told police that she, Murphy and a third person, identified only as “Tommy,” were looking for money to buy heroin, the prosecutor said.

Inside Murphy’s home, police found dark clothing, gloves and a mask fashioned from triangle-shaped piece of a teal-green bed sheet, all matching the items worn by the robber.

They did not find a gun, and it’s not clear whether he had one that night. Because Murphy told the store owner that he did, he can be charged with armed assault with intent to rob.

During the proceeding, Murphy told Feeley, the judge, that he suffers from anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder and takes medications for all three conditions.

Murphy’s lawyer, William Sullivan, said only that the plea is the result of a “negotiated settlement,” which he urged the judge to accept.

Silva “does feel strongly that the defendant should be sent to state prison,” said Hopwood.

Silva’s store was also the target of an attempted holdup in 2012 that was thwarted when a store clerk locked the robber inside until police arrived.

He said he was “agreeable” with the sentence. He said he would have come to court for trial. “There are too many lenient judges out there,” he said. “I just wanted to make sure he got what he deserved.”

“These people should be taken off the streets, especially during these times of gun violence,” said Silva.

He said he has been in business in the same spot in Lawrence for about 30 years and “There really hasn’t been that much trouble…just these two incidents over the past couple of years,” he said. “With Lawrence it’s a perception problem.”

Gill, who is facing charges as Murphy’s accomplice, is due in court on Sept. 25.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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(c)2015 The Salem News (Beverly, Mass.)

Visit The Salem News (Beverly, Mass.) at www.salemnews.com

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