Fayette County inmate charged with attempted murder of jail staffer

An inmate is facing an attempted murder charge after allegedly assaulting a correctional officer at the Fayette County Jail this week, causing serious injuries.

Jeannie Marie Murphy

Jeannie Marie Murphy, 48, made an initial court appearance on Tuesday, Jan. 10. She was charged with attempted murder (Class B felony) and assault on persons in certain occupations using or displaying a dangerous weapon (Class D felony).

Her bail was set at $25,000 cash or surety.

At about 4:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 9, a detention officer attempting to check whether Murphy damaged the fire sprinkler in her jail cell tried to move her to another cell, says a criminal complaint. Murphy allegedly refused to move and knocked over and struck the officer several times with her fists and with the officer’s body camera.

The officer deployed a taser striking Murphy, the complaint says, but she attacked the officer again, this time taking handcuffs from the officer’s duty belt. Murphy also appeared to be reaching for the officer’s taser.

A sheriff’s deputy intervened to help force Murphy into a jail cell, the complaint says.

The officer received a lump to the head and was diagnosed with a concussion when getting medical attention.

A court-appointed attorney will defend Murphy. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 25.

In the application for counsel at state expense, Murphy wrote that she hasn’t worked “as an RN since July 2020 after failed neck surgery” and she was staying with her parents and caring for them.

Murphy was in the jail after Oelwein Police arrested her in the early morning of Jan. 4 on a charge of domestic abuse assault with intent to inflict serious injury (aggravated misdemeanor).

According to the criminal complaint, Murphy poured what she said she thought was acid on a person in an Oelwein home. The alleged victim told police that he was sleeping in a chair in the living room and woke up to see Murphy standing in a hall staring at him, holding a bottle and wearing clear plastic gloves.

The alleged victim told police that Murphy said she had acid in the bottle and then she walked toward him. They exchanged words and Murphy splashed the “acid” on him. He grabbed her arm. She asked him how it feels and poured the rest of the bottle all over him while he attempted to defend himself, he said.

The complaint also says Murphy told police that she made the “acid” with household products, including salt, water, beef broth, molasses and other ingredients. She believed it to truly be acid, she said, adding her hands and arms were burning from it so she put on gloves to handle it.

She made her initial court appearance later that day. Her bail was set at $2,000 cash only and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Jan. 17 in the Oelwein Magistrate Courtroom.

An attorney was appointed to defend her at state expense.