Greensboro Man Sentenced to 20 Years on Firearms Charges After Hostage Situation and Drug Trafficking Violations

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

GREENSBORO – Matthew Leviticus Murphy, 32, was sentenced on April 15, 2022, to a total of 240 months in prison for possession of a firearm by a felon in two separate incidences in Greensboro in 2020 and 2021. Sandra J. Hairston, United States Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, made the announcement.

According to court documents, Murphy forced his way into a home in Greensboro brandishing a firearm early on the morning of November 21, 2020. Murphy pointed a firearm at multiple residents of the house. During the interaction, Murphy pointed a firearm at a three-year-old child among other members of the family and demanded that they pretend to know Murphy once the police arrived. Police then entered the home and began questioning Murphy and the hostages. One member of the family told police that Murphy had threatened to shoot them if they didn’t cooperate and police promptly arrested Murphy.

On the evening of January 21, 2021, Greensboro Police officers conducted a traffic stop involving a vehicle in which Murphy was the passenger. As they approached the vehicle, Murphy attempted to conceal a plastic bag containing white powder and hid a bag of the powder. Officers found two additional clear plastic bags containing a white powder, a firearm, and a large amount of cash in the vehicle. Laboratory testing confirmed that the powder contained fentanyl.

At the time of both offenses, Murphy had been previously convicted of felonious second-degree burglary charges and theft in 2006 which resulted in a term of imprisonment exceeding one year. Murphy was also convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and burglary charges again in 2012 and of malicious conduct by a prisoner in 2014, resulting in additional terms of imprisonment. Thus, at the time of the offenses, Murphy was legally barred from possessing a firearm due to his status as a felon.

The Honorable William L. Osteen, Jr., sentenced Murphy to two consecutive terms of imprisonment of 120 months each. After imprisonment, Murphy will be subject to supervised release for three years.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Veronica Edmisten. The Greensboro Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were involved in the investigation of the case.