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Judge revokes bond for Mt. Pleasant man responsible for evacuations

| Saturday, April 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Mt. Pleasant man who allegedly attempted to blow up his house will remain in jail while mental health treatment options for him are identified.

Bond for Mark D. Halfhill, 51, of 802 W. Vine St., was revoked by Judge Debra Pezze on Friday.

Halfhill is facing charges of risking a catastrophe and reckless endangerment for allegedly forcing the evacuation of 19 homes Feb. 5 after he disconnected the natural gas line to his furnace in an attempt to blow up his house, according to police.

Under an agreement among attorneys and police, Halfhill was released on $50,000 unsecured bond Feb. 21.

At a preliminary hearing, Mt. Pleasant Township District Judge Roger Eckels ordered Halfhill to seek mental health treatment and remain there until trial.

Public Defender L.A. Smith said on Friday that after Halfhill's insurance stopped covering treatment, he went home.

Police saw him twice at a bar in early April, and a warrant for his arrest was issued on April 10,

On April 15, Halfhill was committed to the Westmoreland County Prison, according to online court records.

Pezze ordered that he remain there until a treatment option is identified.

The overnight incident started at 10:45 p.m. Feb. 5. Halfhill's sister called 911 after he called her and said he had sharpened his knives, disconnected the gas line and was going to blow up his house, according to police.

Officers were met by a strong odor of natural gas upon arriving at Halfhill's residence. Police evacuated neighbors within a one-block radius.

Halfhill allegedly ignored repeated attempts to get him to exit the residence. Around 2 a.m. Feb. 6, police broke out a front window of the home to allow gas to escape. They saw Halfhill inside and ordered him to come out.

A November trial is scheduled.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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