Charlottesville Breaking News
What is it about mugshots that's so darn compelling? Some may call it schadenfreude, that hidden pleasure the misfortune of others, but for the publisher of the second mugshot mag to hit Central Virginia newsstands in less than six months, the money can't hurt.
In October, Media General, publisher of the Daily Progress and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, introduced Charlottesville and surrounding counties to Gotcha!, a weekly tabloid featuring recent arrestees and the crimes for which they're charged.
Like the competing Crime Times, which first hit stands in June and has been doing brisk business (with circulation ballooning from 6,000 a week in June to 25,000 a week this month), Gotcha! retails for $1. It's apparently a small price for the pleasure of seeing the smiling, frowning, grimacing– and even bloodied– visages of recent arrestees.
In its first week at the store, says Kim Brown, co-owner of Brown's convenience store on Avon Street, sales have been brisk. Of the 25 delivered, 12 had sold in the first 48 hours. And once people see what's inside, she notes, sales may increase.
"I swore I wasn't going to read it," she laughs, "but then I heard they had restaurant violations."
Since entering Charlottesville politics earlier this year, James Halfaday has cut a wide– and, at times, bizarre– swath. Besides the fact that he now faces election fraud charges over his run for City Council, his post-campaign claim that a female volunteer with an opponent's campaign made him fear for his life raised eyebrows when he made the allegation in August. The case was thrown out of court Monday, but that still leaves the now-vindicated accusee, Nina Gregory, traumatized, according to her attorney.
Following his last-place finish in the Democratic primary, Halfaday, who's openly gay, obtained an emergency protective order against the married Gregory, a Democratic volunteer for another candidate. Alleging that Gregory had sent him 134 text messages, Halfaday claimed the woman made numerous phone calls and finally on August 23 (the same day Halfaday claims to be knocked unconscious during an earthquake), sent this message: "I love you. I want to be there. I've got a knife for us."
"There's absolutely no truth to these allegations," Gregory told the Hook August 29, the day she was arrested for allegedly violating a 72-hour emergency protective order. A judge had already refused to grant Halfaday a longer protective order.
Special prosecutor Jeff Haislip dropped the charge November 7 in Charlottesville General District Court....