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Old 02-21-2013, 12:38 PM   #1
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Marble Falls police charge woman in late-night attack at Chili's


MARBLE FALLS � Marble Falls police arrested a 25-year-old woman Feb. 20 for allegedly hitting a local restaurant manager with a handgun during a late-night robbery attempt in May.

Sonja Rai Murdock was booked into the Burnet County Jail on a first-degree aggravated robbery charge. She’s being held in lieu of a $30,000 bond.

On May 15, 2012, Marble Falls police responded to the Chili’s restaurant in the 700 block of First Street about 12:20 a.m. after the manager reported being attacked by a woman dressed in all black clothing including a black ski mask.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit issued by Marble Falls Municipal Judge Cheryl Pounds, investigators used cellphone records and DNA to connect the suspect to the alleged robbery.

The female manager told responding officers in May she was closing the restaurant when the phone rang, according to an affidavit prepared by Marble Falls Police Investigator Steven Eckstein.

“When she answered the phone, she heard ‘ruffling’ noises, and then the caller hung up,” the document stated.

A few moments later, while checking doors, the manager spotted somebody peering out of the women’s restroom. The individual, who was wearing a black ski mask, dark sunglasses, a black coat, black pants and black shoes, raced toward the restaurant employee.

According to the affidavit, the manager grabbed the person and both ended up wrestling on the floor. At one point, the manager told police the alleged attacker told her she had a gun and pulled a black pistol from a pocket.

The suspect then hit the manager with the gun and fled the restaurant, according to the affidavit.

Police found a purse and sunglasses after the alleged assault they believed belong to the individual. The purse contained other clothing items and lipstick.

Investigators obtained phone records for Chili’s about the time of the alleged robbery attempt and discovered one call coming in just before the suspect emerged from the restroom. Officers were able to link the suspect to the phone used in making that call, according to the affidavit.

Eckstein interviewed the suspect a few weeks after the alleged assault. She told him she was home in Horseshoe Bay at the time of the assault and didn’t know why the phone in her possession was determined to be in Marble Falls at that time, according to the affidavit.

The police obtained a search warrant from then-State District Judge Guilford Jones to collect a DNA sample from the suspect in June.* Officers sent that sample along with items recovered at the scene of the alleged attack to the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory for analysis, according to the affidavit.

On Feb. 19, Eckstein received the crime lab report that linked the suspect’s DNA to some of the clothing items recovered at the scene, according to the affidavit.

If convicted, Murdock faces up to 99 years in prison.

The post Marble Falls police charge woman in late-night attack at Chili’s appeared first on The River Cities Daily Tribune.
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