4 months: Halfaday sentenced for probation violation
Former City Council candidate James Halfaday was back in court on Valentine's Day where he received a longer sentence for a probation violation than he did for election fraud.
The man who ran for city office while living in the county now wants to return to his native Illinois and live with his mother. Judge Jay Swett seemed to like the idea of shipping him off when Halfaday appeared in court February 5, and was holding him in jail until he could be transferred.
But Illinois won't take him without a release date, said his probation officer at the hearing.
And the prosecutor took the opportunity to urge the judge to make Halfaday serve his entire remaining four-year, 10-month sentence because Halfaday's euthanization of a pet cat indicated he was a threat to his former lover, said Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Claude Worrell.
"Once he goes to Illinois, there's nothing to stop him from coming back," warned Worrell.
Halfaday had already pleaded guilty to a probation violation for sending an email to his former domestic partner with photos of a dog lying beside vomit. A 13-minute video he made of pet cat Volley being put down further suggested to Worrell that Halfaday was a danger to his ex.
"There's no evidence the euthanization was not needed," said Halfaday's attorney, Jim Hingeley. "It appears to be conducted in a veterinarian's office. I object to Mr. Worrell's characterization."
Hingeley also noted that had Halfaday been charged with domestic assault, "which he's not," a first offender would not be looking at a four-year, 10-month sentence.
The only reason Halfaday was not charged with stalking and making threats over the phone, said Worrell, was because the former partner asked that charges not be pursued.
Halfaday, 33, became the first openly gay man to run for City Council, but he failed to get the Democratic nomination to get on the ballot in 2011. Increasingly bizarre details came to light after the primary. Halfaday falsely claimed to own Snap Fitness gym. He reported a series of $499 donations from people who denied making contributions to his campaign, and he was charged with a felony for making a false statement on an election form in which he claimed he lived in Charlottesville.
The prison-stripes-wearing defendant told the judge he was sorry he was in court under these circumstances– and then said the euthanized cat had been abused by his ex-partner. He also accused the ex of abusing the dog in the photo as well.
"No contact," said Judge Swett in sentencing Halfaday to four months in jail, two years supervised probation, four years unsupervised probation, and six years of good behavior.
He also ordered Halfaday to begin counseling.Read more on: james halfaday