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Murray Is Not New to Trouble : He Has Twice Failed to Appear in Court, Lost Driver's License

September 05, 1987|CURT HOLBREICH | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Gerald Murray's legal troubles are not new. Murray, the starting center on the San Diego State basketball who was arrested this week on drug charges, has twice in the past seven months failed to appear in San Diego Municipal Court in connection with a charge of lewd conduct in public, according to court records.

In addition, his driver's license is under double suspension after he was cited for three violations in a two-month period starting in November, according to records of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The court records show that Murray, 22, has missed two court appearances in the lewd conduct case that stems from an incident in February in East San Diego. Two bench warrants have been issued for Murray, the latest Aug. 4.

The incident occurred at 12:40 a.m. on Feb. 2 in the 4400 block of 47th Street. Murray, who was accompanied by a female passenger, was driving a rented automobile. He was cited by police for lewd conduct, according to court records.

Arraignment was set for the morning of Feb. 13, but Murray failed to appear. The SDSU basketball team was in El Paso that day for a night game against the University of Texas El Paso.

Murray's failure to appear was cited, and a bench warrant was issued March 5. Police served Murray with the warrant June 27, and he was released on his own recognizance, according to court records.

A second court date was set for July 27. When Murray failed to appear again, a second bench warrant was issued Aug. 4. There is no record that Murray has been served with the second warrant.

Murray could not be reached at his home. His attorney, Ronald M. Frant of San Diego, be reached for comment.

SDSU basketball coach Jim Brandenburg said Murray made no mention of the previous incident when he and the coach discussed his arrest on the drug charges. Brandenburg has suspended Murray indefinitely from the basketball team.

"This is the first I heard of it," Brandenburg said Friday night. "I wasn't even here then. I was somewhere else in February."

Brandenburg took over as SDSU coach in March after nine seasons at Wyoming.

Fred Miller, SDSU athletic director, also said he was unaware of the previous incident involving Murray. Miller said the university would await the outcome of court proceedings before deciding if further action would be taken against Murray.

Murray's troubles with the traffic laws also occurred before Brandenburg took over for Smokey Gaines, who resigned as coach last season. The violations began shortly after Murray, a native of Detroit, obtained his California driver's license in October.

He was ticketed Nov. 26 for driving without a license in his possession. He was cited a week later for failing to obey a traffic sign. And he was involved in an accident Jan. 23 in which he was cited for operating a vehicle without proper insurance.

His license was suspended April 15 for his lack of insurance. A second suspension was ordered May 2 after Murray failed to respond to the two earlier tickets. The suspensions are issued independently, and both must be settled before Murray's license can be restored.

Murray was arrested Tuesday during a San Diego police raid of an off-campus apartment in East San Diego. He was arrested along with two other people on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance and suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale. He is free on $3,000 bail.

Also arrested were Natosha Plousha, 22, and a 17-year-old male.

Among the items police said they seized in the raid were 3 1/2 ounces of rock cocaine--the police estimated its street value at $4,200--and a loaded .38-caliber revolver.

Times staff writer Bill Plaschke contributed to this story.

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