Opening arguments were heard yesterday in the Brooklyn federal court trial of Patrick Murray, the firefighter who was caught last year operating a marijuana grow house in Queens Village. Murray is charged with tending more than 100 pot plants, worth upwards of $5,000 each. But the firefighter might have damned himself with the location of the operation.
According to prosecutors, three children were living above the basement that served as Murray's drug den. They were exposed to harmful fumes from powerful chemical fertilizers and carbon dioxide gas used to maintain the plants. "While most firefighters enter a house to save lives, the defendant entered this house to take care of business," said Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Soumya Dayananda.
Murray, a seven-year FDNY veteran, will have to contend with the testimony of another firefighter, Matthew Cody, who owned the house and allowed him to grow there. Defense lawyer Lee Ginsberg told jurors that Cody is testifying to avoid a five-year sentence, "Matthew Cody, if he tells any truth on the witness stand...will tell you that Patrick Murray was helping him for months and months to build an apartment in the basement... Patrick Murray had nothing to do with this marijuana operation."