Posted on March 2, 2014 at 8:35 PM
Monday, Mar 3 at 8:45 AM
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) -- A convicted Missouri felon who intentionally got himself arrested late last year so he would have someplace to stay after an ice storm said he is having second thoughts about the decision that landed him a four-year stay with the state Department of Corrections.
Roy Murphy, 43, walked into a St. Joseph convenience store in November, approached the clerk and asked her for all of the money in the cash register. He didn't carry a weapon, didn't threaten her and even asked if she wanted him to put on an Army-green "hoodie-like" stocking cap he had brought with him.
She told him to leave, and later said she was less scared than confused, The Kansas City Star reported. When she picked up her cellphone, Murphy told her to go ahead and call police.
He then walked outside and was arrested 10 minutes later.
"I don't know what I was thinking," Murphy told the newspaper. "It was just one of those things where I kind of gave up."
In December, Murphy -- who had already spent nearly 14 years behind bars, starting when he was 19 -- told a judge he had demanded money from the clerk for the sole purpose of getting sent back to prison.
"I intended to go to prison," he told Judge Patrick Robb, according to the St. Joseph News-Press. "I've been out for a year. I've got nothing, and I don't know how to make it on the outside."
He was convicted of attempting to physically take property from a victim, a felony, and was sentenced to four years.
Murphy's public defender, Joshua Bachman, said he considers it one of the more bizarre cases of his career, but he doesn't think it's unheard of.
"Life inside the institution and life outside the institution, they both have their challenges," Bachman said. "And for an individual that has learned how to adapt to the difficulties inside the institution, but not necessarily the outside life, it can be difficult."
It's hard to stay out of trouble after being released from prison, Murphy said, especially for someone who doesn't have anywhere to stay, nor even a place to do laundry.
"When you get right out of prison with $5 in your pocket, and they drop you off in society, I don't know what they really expect you to do."
After being released from his last stint in prison in July 2012, he spent some time in Joplin and briefly lived in a small town in southeast Kansas, according to the newspaper.
Murphy eventually met Brady Rodgers, a Platte City minister who owns the local Comfort Inn. Rodgers took a liking to him, offering him a maintenance job at his hotel and a temporary place to stay.
"He was with me for about a week and a half, doing a great job; my staff really liked him," Rodgers said.
After working a shift at the hotel Nov. 21, Murphy went to St. Joseph to see his sister. That's when an ice storm hit, stranding him in St. Joseph with no place to stay because his sister's live-in boyfriend was on parole and couldn't have contact with other ex-convicts.
He knew he wouldn't be able to make it back to work, which likely meant another lost job, and he was still three weeks away from his first full paycheck that would let him get a place of his own.
In hindsight, Murphy said he would have done things differently, such as calling his boss and trying to explain the situation.
"Nobody actually wants to be here," he says. "I mean, I could not legitimately say that I honestly wanted to be here. And I don't want to be here. But I am here, because of the choice I made."
He will be eligible for parole in November 2015.