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Unionville man sentenced in child sex case

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Murphy Allan Major, 30, of Unionville, will serve the next 15 years in prison for engaging in sexual activity with a 6-year-old girl.  

He must serve the sentence day-for-day; he will not be eligible for early release. However, the prison system can grant him up to 15 percent reduction in prison time (up to nearly two years in this case) for good behavior.  

Major was initially charged with rape of a child, a class A felony which is punishable by a minimum prison term of 25 years up to a maximum of 60 years. The only crime that comes with harsher sentencing in Tennessee is 1st Degree Murder.  

In a plea deal with prosecutors, Major pled guilty to aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony. In Tennessee, a class B felony is punishable by eight to 30 years’ imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $25,000.  

Circuit Court Judge Forest Alexander Durard Jr., told Major that following his release from prison.  

Major will be listed as a violent sex offender on the sex offender registry “for the rest of your days.” Major will also be on supervised parole (community supervision) for life.  

The crime  

According to the affidavit supporting the charge of rape of a child, Major “did sexually penetrate” the girl and “he also made her perform other sexual acts using money and candy to coerce the child.”  

The incidents occurred between March 19 and April 19, 2020. He was arrested on July 30, 2020. According to prosecutor Michael Randles, in a presentation of the facts of the case, the crime was originally reported to law enforcement by the child’s grandmother in April 2020.  

The victim reportedly told law enforcement that Major had showed her pornographic videos and attempted to re-create the images with her.  

A strained agreement

Major had a difficult time understanding and accepting what was going on at his sentencing hearing on Monday.  

He told Judge Durard that he had difficulty with reading comprehension and had “emotional issues.”  

He testified that he had graduated from high school in a special education program.  

Throughout the process of concluding the plea deal, Major expressed uncertainty with what he was agreeing to.  

“Do you understand?” Judge Durard asked.  

“I’m trying to,” Major replied.  

Major’s plea is what is called a “best interest plea,” meaning that he (Major) does not admit to the crime but because there’s a possibility that he would be found guilty if he went to trial on the original charge, and receive a much harsher sentence, it is in his best interest to take the deal offered by prosecutors.  

Judge Durard explained to Major that if he were found guilty on the child rape charge the minimum sentence would be 25 years. In the plea deal, his sentence was to be 15 years.  

“It saves you 10 years,” Judge Durard said.  

Several times during the hearing, Major became visibly upset and engaged in lengthy, agitated consultations with his attorney, public defender Mike Collins.  

Collins explained at one point that Major was upset that he had never been allowed to get a copy of the police reports.  

After one lengthy sidebar conversation with his attorney, Collins, Major told Judge Durard, “I’m not trying to stall. I’m just trying to get some things off my chest.”  

“If you don’t want to plead guilty, don’t plead guilty,” Judge Durard said.  

Durard again explained to Major that “… if the jury believes the little girl” it’s a minimum sentence of 25 years. 

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