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Former Fire Chief Ordered To Undergo Psychiatric Evaluation

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DURHAM, N.C. — Carrboro's former fire chief, facing felony stalking charges, will spend time in a state mental health hospital undergoing psychiatric evaluation, a Durham County superior court judge ruled Thursday.

Authorities picked up Rodney Murray from a detention center in Horry County, S.C., Wednesday for violating a protective order, a Durham police spokeswoman said. He had been undergoing treatment at a hospital there, but was released Tuesday.

The court issued warrants for Murray's arrest last month after he reportedly made more harassing phone calls to his former girlfriend, Gina Ambrosecchia. Murray had been out of jail for earlier misdemeanor charges, but violated the terms of his release when he allegedly contacted her.

In court Thursday, Durham County Assistant District Attorney Kendra Montgomery-Blin called Murray dangerous and said, "He's going to kill her if he gets out of jail again."

Murray's attorney, Butch Williams, refuted that statement, saying his client had never been violent toward Ambrosecchia.

Superior Court Judge David LaBarre ordered Murray to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at either John Umstead Hospital or Dorothea Dix.

LaBarre also restricted Murray's phone calls only to his lawyer.

A career firefighter with 25 years of service with the Chapel Hill Fire Department and a decade of service with the Carrboro Fire Department, Murray has been arrested a half-dozen times since December on misdemeanor charges related to allegedly harassing Ambrosecchia.

Murray resigned as fire chief in early January after his first arrest on stalking charges. His resignation became effective March 1.

With his next court appearance scheduled for April 26, Murray is being held under a $1.5 million bond.

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