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'She's not a menace': Family wants mental care, not charges, for woman who attacked Baldwin County deputies

Fiesta Murphy is in Bibb Co. jail after being shot by Baldwin deputies. They say she attacked them with a hammer. They just want her to come her to come home

MACON, Ga. — It's been a month since Baldwin County deputies shot a woman after they say she attacked them with a hammer.

Fiesta Murphy is currently being held at the Bibb County jail. Baldwin County Sheriff, Bill Massee, says it's because they have a bigger mental health facility. She's currently being charged with aggravated assault, arson in the second degree, and burglary. 

Murphy's family says she's had a long history of mental health issues. They just want her to come home.

13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha spoke with them about the Fiesta Murphy they know when she's healthy.

"It's just our wish to resolve this as peaceably as we can, get her stabilized, and get her the help she needs,” Robert Bell says. 

Bell and Shaudi Murphy,  Fiesta's cousin and older brother, called all the way from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They say she was always a kind and warm-hearted person. 

"She's a hard worker, she sets goals for herself,” Shaudi says. “She likes her kids, she likes her family."

They say things changed after Murphy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Things only got worse over the years. 

"I know that she was taking these shots every month. It would last, and at the end of the month, it would start wearing off,” Shaudi explains. 

However, if she got off of her medication…

"She would start going back into her little crazy incidents like ripping up our family pictures,” he says. 

Shaudi says she would display behavior similar to what she did in the Antioch Primitive Baptist Church the night she was released from the Baldwin County jail. This included breaking into the church, writing on the walls, and setting small fires, like in the bathroom toilet. 

Bell says she was just trying to find help.

Fiesta had been released, she wasn’t given a phone call. There was no bus ticket to go anywhere. They just opened the door,” he explains. “She was walking down the road for five or six miles. She had tried to ask people in the stores to use the telephone, but they rebuffed her. She felt comfortable approaching the sanctuary for help.”

They said while the situation escalated, deputies shouldn't have shot Murphy. They said if deputies were trained in mental health intervention, it could've been preventable.

"What she did in there wasn't right, like scratching up the walls, but, see, that’s the mental illness.” Shaudi says. “However, the cops, they're the ones that should know better.”

"She's not a bad person, she's not a menace. We would like to have a bond set at a reasonable rate, so we can get Latina back home and into treatment,” Bell says. 

Sheriff Bill Massee says a grand jury will decide whether Murphy gets charged or ends up removed from jail.  No date is set yet.

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