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Halfaday ordered to leave Virginia

Halfaday ordered to leave Virginia

James Halfaday, the former City Council candidate convicted of voter fraud and probation violations, was told by a Charlottesville circuit judge on Friday to go to Illinois and start his life anew.

Judge Edward L. Hogshire found Halfaday guilty of an April good-behavior violation for contacting his former partner while serving time at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. He was in jail for violating his probation by contacting the same man in February.

Halfaday reportedly threatened his ex-boyfriend several times through letters to a mutual acquaintance and voice messages to his mother that he wanted relayed to the man, court records show.

"He is really going to get hurt," Halfaday is quoted as telling his mother in a phone call. The call was recounted in a letter to the judge from Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman. "Tell him it is in his best interest to work with me on this matter ... and I'm saying this not to mean going to the police department and saying all this stuff, I'm saying it for his own safety."

On Friday, Halfaday was sentenced to 55 days, which was the time he had served in jail. He was to be released Friday afternoon into his mother's custody. She told the court she would drive him directly to Illinois. He has 48 hours to get to Illinois and contact probation officials there, Hogshire ordered.

His mother and court officials had arranged for Halfaday to report to Illinois probation officials for the remainder of a five-year sentence stemming from his 2011 bid for Charlottesville City Council.

Hogshire warned Halfaday, 33, that any attempt to contact his former boyfriend while living in Illinois would result in Halfaday serving the remaining four years of his suspended election fraud sentence in jail.

“The order of the court will be strictly enforced,” Hogshire told Halfaday from the bench. “Any violation and the four years and six months penitentiary sentence will be enforced.”

Halfaday’s probation officer, Paul Anderson, told Hogshire that Illinois probation officials agreed to handle Halfaday’s probation and to contact Virginia should Halfaday apply to leave the state.  

Halfaday’s legal troubles began in 2011 when he listed a Sunset Road address in campaign filings while seeking the Democratic Party's primary nomination. Halfaday actually lived in Albemarle County, records showed. Halfaday also incorrectly stated that he was a co-owner of a local gym.

Halfaday, who finished last in the primary, pleaded guilty in 2012 to the felony charge and was sentenced to five years in prison with all but 60 days suspended. During his active sentence, the court added to his probation stipulations that he not have contact with his former boyfriend.

It’s that stipulation that got him his second jail stint.

In January, Halfaday sent his former partner an email with pictures of their pet Chihuahua, Kermit, next to a pool of vomit. The ex was alarmed because, according to Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Claude Worrell, who prosecuted the first violation, Halfaday had unnecessarily euthanized the couple's cat, Volley, in 2012.

Halfaday posted a video of the cat's euthanasia to YouTube, which Worrell in January called an indirect threat. Halfaday had also filed animal cruelty charges against his ex, but those were later dropped because they were considered harassment, Worrell said.

The former candidate was sentenced to four months for that violation and was then charged in April for the second violation when he again contacted his ex while serving time.

Anna Halfaday, Halfaday’s mother, told the court she was prepared to leave Friday with her son and drive the distance to Illinois. She said she and her daughter and a grandson drove to Charlottesville in about 15 hours.

A court-ordered mental health evaluation revealed that Halfaday has narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders, according to court documents. Hogshire made Halfaday’s cooperation with Illinois probation officials, including any treatment that officials recommend, a requirement of his release.

Hogshire said he hopes Halfaday will take advantage of the second chance.

“I hope he will take it seriously and take advantage of the opportunity to change his life,” Hogshire said.

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