Magistrate Denies Impropriety

WHEELING – Ohio County Magistrate Patty Murphy believes she committed no wrongdoing earlier this month following the arrests of her cousin, John Marshall High School Principal Corey Murphy, and his co-worker, Marshall County Schools Special Education Director Shelbie Haines.

Haines, 38, of Wheeling has been charged with DUI. Corey Murphy, 34, of Wheeling was issued a citation for failure to produce a driver’s license.

Officers responded to a hit-and-run report at the Stifel Fine Arts Center on National Road at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 10. Witnesses told police that a woman driving a Jeep struck the building’s sign and then drove away in the direction of Laurel Avenue. Officers observed the sign had been shattered, and there was also damage to a traffic sign, according to a police report.

They located the vehicle in front of Corey Murphy’s home on Laurel Avenue. Corey Murphy was in the driver’s seat and Haines was in the passenger seat, the report states. Both Corey Murphy and Haines reportedly smelled of alcohol.

Corey Murphy initially told officers he was driving the vehicle before changing his story and saying neither had been driving. He failed a field sobriety test at the scene, police said. Officers said they were unable to understand Haines due to her slurred speech. She held onto the frame of the vehicle’s door to maintain her balance, the report states, and also failed a field sobriety test at the scene.

Both were transported back to Wheeling police headquarters, where Haines allegedly admitted she was driving the vehicle. Police said Corey Murphy began to mention the names of former and current Ohio County officials, including his cousin.

“I know (former) Sheriff (Tom) Burgoyne and Sheriff Pat Butler and I’m related to a magistrate,” Corey Murphy told officers, the report states.

Corey Murphy was cited and released to a sober individual, while officers began to transport Haines to the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville on a DUI charge. While en route, however, Patty Murphy, the on-call magistrate that day, phoned officers and instructed them to return Haines to Wheeling for the arraignment process because “she didn’t want her to go to jail,” the report states.

After returning her to Wheeling, officers said Patty Murphy was reviewing documents with Haines at magistrate court when she stopped the arraignment process before it was complete. Patty Murphy then advised the officers that they had fulfilled their obligations and could leave. The magistrate then instructed Haines to return the following day to complete the arraignment, the report states.

Patty Murphy on Monday contrasted officers’ account, claiming she completed the arraignment process the day of the arrest. She then released Haines on a personal recognizance bond to Kelly Murphy, she said, who is Corey Murphy’s sister and Patty Murphy’s cousin.

Deputy Police Chief Martin Kimball described the events following the arrest as “highly irregular.”

Patty Murphy said Corey Murphy never called her while he was in police custody or after he was released that day. She also denied any impropriety in the incident and said she treated Haines the same way she would treat anyone who was arrested for first-offense DUI. She did say she requested officers not include her name in the police report.

“I feel I did nothing wrong,” Patty Murphy said Monday.

Corey Murphy and Marshall County Schools Superintendent Fred Renzella did not return calls Monday for comment. Haines declined to comment.