Man pleads guilty in Mt. Pleasant scare
A Mt. Pleasant man who disconnected the natural gas line to his furnace in a February attempt to blow up his home pleaded guilty on Friday to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Mark D. Halfhill, 51, was sentenced by Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec to serve six to 23 months in prison and was immediately paroled.
Halfhill told Blahovec that the incident, resulting in the evacuation of 19 homes, was a suicide attempt.
In offering his plea, he said, “I just want to get my life back on track.”
A more serious felony charge of risking a catastrophe was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
The incident began just before 11 p.m. Feb. 5 when Halfhill's sister called 911 to say he told her he had disconnected the gas line and was going to blow up his house, police said.
When officers detected a strong odor of gas at Halfhill's home, they evacuated houses within a one-block radius.
Halfhill ignored repeated attempts to exit the residence, so police broke out a front window to allow gas to escape and ordered him to leave.
“If something would've happened … I could've possibly hurt someone,” Halfhill told Blahovec. Halfhill was sent to the Westmoreland County Prison on Feb. 12 with a $50,000 bail, according to court records but was later released as part of an agreement that he would undergo inpatient mental health treatment.
But when his insurance would no longer cover the treatment, he left the program and was later returned to prison after police twice found him at a bar.
As part of Friday's plea deal, Blahovec ordered Halfhill to undergo outpatient mental health treatment and to refrain from drinking alcohol.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hempfield man dies in single-vehicle accident
- 2 Hempfield Area students charged with sexting
- Murrysville woman apologizes for scholarship fund theft
- Seton Hill student tells how Pa. Gov. Wolf’s tax plan will hurt her
- Donors’ generosity allows Clairview School girls to get fancy for prom
- 2 charged with copper theft from Greensburg house
- Jeannette’s Monsour Medical Center demolition costs might go down
- Jeannette police say 5 people caught trespassing on grounds
- Police seek public help with East Huntingdon store thefts
- Hempfield bicyclist who brought rock, knives into court office charged
- 2 Democrats battle for Hempfield nomination for supervisor