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CRIME Calif. councilwoman's arrest stuns colleagues, neighbors



Published: Sat, July 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Police said they found cocaine in her house and loaded guns in her garage.

BURBANK, Calif. (AP) -- She was "the quintessential soccer mom," ferrying three sons to games while handling the politics of this Los Angeles suburb so well that even city hall gadflies liked her.

Stacey Murphy spearheaded city projects and, two years ago, organized a big thank-you luncheon for outside agencies that helped Burbank after a rookie police officer was killed, reportedly by street gang members.

This past week, she was arrested when police linked her to the same violent gang. Also arrested was her boyfriend, who has reportedly confessed that he knowingly sold a gun to one gang member and that the couple bought cocaine from other gang members.

Police who raided Murphy's home said they found cocaine in a bedroom and three loaded guns in the garage, plus 900 bullets.

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Neighbors and colleagues are reeling.

"I find myself thinking this has to be a nightmare; it can't possibly be true," said Mayor Jef Vander Borght, who has known Murphy for two decades. "It shakes people's confidence in the people you elect as leaders."

The woman who won more votes than any other candidate in this year's election was released on $100,000 bail awaiting an August arraignment on expected drug possession and child endangerment charges. If convicted, she would be forced out of office.

Murphy, 47, refused to open the front door at her home Friday, referring questions to Atty. Rick Santwier.

Santwier did not return calls seeking comment.

Murphy's neighborhood is so quiet that neighbor Ernesto Cuevas said he often leaves his front door open at night for ventilation.

When detectives raided Murphy's home Wednesday, "of course the neighborhood was abuzz," said Kara Connor, 27.

"Kinda makes the neighborhood seem like 'Desperate Housewives,'" Connor said, referring to the hit ABC series. Murphy once poured her energy into raising her sons Sean, Robert and Connor.




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