Local News

Experts Say Former Carrboro Chief's Actions Not Uncommon

Posted March 17, 2006

— On Friday, a judge signed an order to send Carrboro's former fire chief to Dorothea Dix for psychological evaluation. Since December, Rodney Murray has been arrested six times for allegedly harassing an ex-girlfriend.

In a matter of months, it seems Rodney Murray's life is now little more than a series of arrests and court appearances.

"He's to have no contact with the witness in this case, which I've told him not to do a half-dozen times," said Judge David LaBarre.

Yet, after each warning the former Carrboro chief was charged with yet another claim of harassment or stalking. His ex-girlfriend says the bizarre behavior started after she broke off their 10-year relationship.

"These are just allegations," said defense attorney Butch Williams.

Williams wants Murray to undergo psychological testing. He believes major life changes in a short time span may be to blame. Murray suffered a heart attack in the fall, lost his girlfriend, then resigned from his high-profile job.

"A man can only take so much at one time, but he's fighting through it, I believe," said Williams.

"They get so obsessed with a person, it's all they can think about," said psychologist Dr. Barbara Yelverton.

Yelverton said it's not uncommon for most people to go through some sort of denial after a longtime relationship ends. She said it's how people cope that varies.

"It's a blow to the self-esteem, and some people don't act as their typical best self," said Yelverton.

Yelverton admits this type of behavior can sometimes end in violence if the person doesn't get help. Murray's attorney says that's what everyone's trying to prevent.

Mental health experts say in general, women typically handle breakups better than men because they tend to have a larger support group of friends and family.

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