Brandy Murrah is the former owner of an Ozark, Alabama drug testing lab, where she was accused of falsifying the records of parents to show positive drug tests, which in some cases, led to parents losing custody of their children, the Dothan Eagle reported.
District Attorney Kirke Adams told the Dothan Eagle that her actions were irresponsible and that “She has committed a fraud upon the whole court system.”
Murrah was arrested in 2019 and was sentenced in November of this year.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Brandy Was Described as ‘Hard-Working’ & ‘Dependable’ by an Employer
Brandy Murrah Williams is a 38-year-old woman who lived in Clopton, Alabama and owned a drug screening lab. On her Facebook page, she described herself as single; local news station WTVY reported that she went by Brandy Williams at one point.
Murrah was employed by a janitorial company, who said she was a hard-working, dependable and caring employee during Murrah’s trial, according to The Southeast Sun. “Brandy cares a lot about people,” the employer said. “She absolutely does care.”
Murrah, however, had run into criminal trouble before, with five felonies in her record, according to The Southeast Sun, which reported that Adams had asked the employers who said Murrah was a dependable person, “Would knowledge of the fact that she had five prior felonies before this change your mind?”
According to Alabama.com, Murrah pleaded guilty to “five counts of fraudulent use of a credit or debit card” in Houston County and received a sentence of three years of probation.
2. Murrah Owned a Lab Called A&J Collection
OZARK, Ala. (WTVY) – The state of Alabama has no way to determine how many drug tests a woman falsified, per court testimony. However, several victims said Thursday that Brandy Murrah’s deceit cost them custody of their children https://t.co/3jChJzoLXf
— Amelia Duran (@AmeliaD10216674) November 16, 2020
Murrah’s company, A & J Collection, was responsible for drug-testing individuals, and in some cases, subcontracted with the Dale County Department of Human Resources (DHR) to provide drug screenings and paternity tests, according to The Southeast Sun.
The Southeast Sun reported that during her sentencing hearing, Murrah said she was “green” when she started her business.
According to Oxygen, a Dale County DHR employee said that they used Murrah’s lab because she was “available around the clock.” The employee also said during the trial that Murrah’s paperwork showed “several discrepancies in her billing, a lot of travel expenses,” which Murrah corrected when asked about, according to The Southeast Sun. That DHR employee testified that she told Murrah which specific drugs to look for when testing and it was later discovered that those were the cases where false records had been discovered.
3. Murrah Was Arrested in May of 2019
Some of the parents who lost custody of their children because of the bogus results from Murrah’s A&J Lab Collections in Ozark told the court of the pain Murrah’s lies caused their families#BrandyMurrah #Drugs #Alabama https://t.co/TIAK6Hr8a2
— Realtalktimenews (@Realtalktimenow) November 20, 2020
WTVY reported that when Severs’ mother, Judy McGinnis, heard that her daughter had tested positive for meth and marijuana use, McGinnis contacted the doctor on the paperwork. He told her that he had never tested Severs’ samples and the family took their findings to the police.
This led to an investigation into Murrah.
According to WTVY, Murrah never forwarded some of the samples she collected for testing and instead, submitted false results to the DHR. The paper reported that “It is believed Murrah owed for previous tests and the labs that tested samples she collected may have no longer been willing to extend her credit.”
At her sentencing hearing, The Southeast Sun reported that Murrah said, “I made mistakes and all I can do is own up to my mistakes. I’ve lived through some very tough battles. I think my true calling is to be a counselor. I want to advocate for others with my life. I’ve been through hell and I’ll make it.”
Murrah pleaded guilty to one count of perjury, which occurred when Murrah testified about the test results of a father trying to keep his children, as well as 16 misdemeanor counts of forgery for submitting the false test results, the Dothan Eagle reported.
4. A Class Action Lawsuit Has Been Filed Against Murrah’s Company
OZARK – Witnesses painted different pictures of Brandy Murrah during a Thursday sentencing hearing at the Dale County Courthouse. Parents said she stood by callously while their children were kept from them due to drug test reports that Murrah… https://t.co/6lV4rDoFsT
— Dothan Eagle (@dothaneagle) November 13, 2020
According to the Dothan Eagle, a class-action lawsuit by the firm of M. Adam Jones and Associates of Dothan has been filed against the company. The lawsuit, according to the paper, represents “all persons who have submitted urine, blood, hair or other biological specimens to the defendants for testing, with said testing being performed incorrectly, reported incorrectly, or not performed or reported at all” and is seeking recuperation for reputational damage, court/attorney fees, mental and emotional distress and other types of damages.
Here are some of the accusations against Murrah, according to The Southeast Sun:
- A company foreman and his employer, a roofing company owner named Sandy Knowles who babysat for him, both tested positive for drug use; the children tested positive for drug exposure.
- Grace Locke, a woman whose children were taken from her from DHR for drug use, completed rehabilitation, had a third baby and submitted test results to be reunited with her other children; they came back positive for methamphetamine and her baby also tested positive for exposure. This resulted in her baby being taken away as well.
- Jennifer Severs, who was in a custody battle with her ex-husband, tested positive for drugs and was unable to be reunited with her children for several months, despite several negative tests at other labs.
A probe was started into all of Murrah’s drug screening reports on May 2, according to Alabama.com. According to Ozark Police Sergeant Cody Evans, Murrah was believed to have falsified more than just the drug screenings mentioned in her case; however, the site reported: “there is no indication at this point that she was paid by any person to change the outcome of a case.”
WTVY reported that McGinnis believes thousands of drug results from Murrah’s company could be false and a DHR worker reported that it was unknown how many of the submitted samples were given false results.
Adams, according to the Dothan Eagle, said that he “believes all cases affected by her alleged actions should be redone in order to be fair.”
5. Murrah Was Sentenced to Prison on November 12
Brandy Murrah Sentenced For Falsifying Lab Records | Crime News https://t.co/VHdSLKuGui
— Bea / Joyful Warrior 🌟🐝💛 (@bcrrodriguez) November 20, 2020
Murrah’s attorney, David Harrison, argued at her sentencing that she requires medication and would be a burden to the area’s taxpayers if she were incarcerated. He instead pushed the judge to give her probation or send her to a community corrections program. “If she’s incarcerated, who does it help?” Harrison asked the judge, The Southeast Sun reported. “At the end of the day, I understand this woman affected peoples’ lives but she has pled guilty and it is a slap in the face to justice not to give her probation.”
Adams disagreed, saying, “The more I prepare for this case, the more disgusted I am,” according to The Southeast Sun. “She continues to blame everyone else … She has committed a fraud upon the whole court system. The worst part is for those who suffered because no one believed them—and she did not care.”
During her sentencing hearing, The Southeast Sun reported that Murrah said, “I know I did wrong, we all make mistakes,” Murrah said as she stood with her attorney before Filmore awaiting sentencing. “No matter what your decision I will make it through this. I’m sorry for anyone I ever hurt. I really did not do this intentionally to ever hurt anyone.”
Judge William Filmore sentenced Murrah to 15 years in prison for her felony perjury charge and 16 misdemeanor counts of forgery, the Dothan Eagle reported.