Travis Scott Murray, 40, of Malad City, Idaho, had a warrant issued for his arrest on Tuesday after failing to appear for sentencing in a case of sexual extortion.
Murray pleaded guilty in July to third-degree stalking and third-degree sexual extortion. An arrest warrant affidavit filed with the 1st District Court alleged Murray surreptitiously took photos of a 26-year-old Cache Valley resident performing oral sex. Law enforcement wrote Murray threatened to release the photos if the victim didn’t perform sexually on a video chat. The alleged victim provided 417 screenshots to deputies of harassing behavior.
Murray faces up to five years in the Utah State Prison for each third-degree felony.
Mark Denton Phipps, 59, was sentenced to 120 days in jail and a term of probation for third-degree counts of stalking and protective order violations.
During the sentencing hearing, defense attorney Shannon Demler told the court Phipps understood the severity of the situation and that he needed to leave the victim alone.
“Jail was a very negative experience for him,” Demler said.
Cache County prosecutor Spencer Walsh said the victim feels very unsafe and requested a prison recommendation for Phipps. If prison time wasn’t the sentence, Walsh requested Phipps be placed on an ankle monitor when released from jail to promote peace of mind for the victim.
Judge Thomas Willmore said he was “quite shocked” by Phipps’ behavior and ordered two third-degree charges to run consecutively if Phipps failed probation.
“This is an obsession for you,” Willmore said. “That means 10 years of prison hanging over your head.”
Melissa Ann Niederhauser, 39, was scheduled to appear for a decision to prelim hearing during a court appearance on Tuesday.
Niederhauser faces two counts of second-degree unlawful dealing with property by fiduciary, two counts of second-degree theft, and 20 counts of third-degree forgery. Cache County prosecutors allege Niederhauser, while working for a local financial firm, embezzled around $100,000 from clients of the firm.
Defense attorney Erin Byington told the court there was a possible resolution in the works, and the next hearing was set for Dec. 22.
Steven Matthew Bemis, 41, was set to appear for a preliminary hearing during his court appearance on Monday.
Bemis has been charged with six counts of third-degree unlawful acquisition of a financial card and 10 related misdemeanors.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed with the 1st District Court, Logan City Police officers responded to a report of a smash-and-grab vehicle burglary. The victim’s wallet, containing six financial cards, was stolen from the vehicle. Police wrote the stolen cards were being used at a local car wash shortly after the burglary and $100 was sent to a woman via a financial app.
Bemis’ preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 9.