|Photo: Roca/NY Daily News|
|NYC firefighter Patrick Murray leaves court earlier this year.|
A jury convicted a New York City firefighter on Wednesday of running a huge marijuana farm in the basement of a house in Queens owned by a fellow fireman.
“I’m in shock,” Patrick Murray told his lawyer after the guilty verdict came in Wednesday night, three hours into jury deliberations, reports John Marzulli of the N.Y. Daily News.
“We’re incredibly disappointed, and we will file an appeal,” vowed defense lawyer Lee Ginsberg.
Murray was a member of a drug gang called “The Master Race,” if rumors are to be believed. The former hero faces a minimum of five years in prison on the marijuana charges.
He was also convicted of “endangering” three children who lived above the hydroponic pot-growing operation.
|Photo: DelMundo/NY Daily News|
|This is the Matthew Cody’s rental house, where Patrick Murray allegedly grew the marijuana in the basement.|
In one of the more dramatically disturbing prosecutorial excesses this reporter has ever seen, the D.A. went after Murray for the child endangerment charge because the children were supposedly “exposed to carbon dioxide gas and fertilizer fumes” from the growing process.
Does that mean that every parent in America with a houseplant is now in danger of being jailed?
Federal Judge John Gleeson, who barred prosecutors from mentioning Murray’s reputed gang affiliation, revoked the firefighter’s $250,000 bail and rebuked him for lying on the witness stand.
“He [Murray] has a constitutional right to take the stand, but not commit perjury the way he did,” fumed Judge Gleeson.
Murray denied he was involved in the marijuana trade, but was sunk by the testimony of former friend, co-defendant and Engine 292 colleague Matthew Cody, who cut a deal to “cooperate” with prosecutors this month.
Cody, who said he was not taking in enough rent money on the grow house to cover the mortgage, said Murray suggested growing pot in the basement to make up the difference.
NYPD officers found more than 100 marijuana plants which they claimed were worth about $500,000 after acting on a tip about the grow operation.
Cody is scheduled to be sentenced next month and Murray will be sentenced in December. Murray faces between 5 and 40 years in prison.