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Putnam website publisher arrested again

By Staff reports

The operator of a website about Putnam County has been arrested for the second time in two months.

On Monday, State Capitol police arrested Mark Halburn, a Dunbar resident who runs, for allegedly making “insulting, demanding and abusive” phone calls to Bunny Harper, manager of the WorkForce West Virginia Charleston Center, and her staff, according to a criminal complaint. Halburn, 52, allegedly accused the workers of violating his First Amendment rights and made at least five phone calls over two hours.

Halburn was in South Central Regional Jail on Tuesday on a $1,500 bond, according to the state Regional Jail Authority website. If convicted, he faces a fine of $500, up to six months in jail, or both.

Halburn was on bond for a June 25 charge for willful disruption of governmental processes. According to a different criminal complaint, Halburn was “being very loud and demanding” in the Dunbar city court clerk’s office about a hallway sign that gave an incorrect location for the office. He allegedly became angry when the clerk told him he would have to come back later for a hearing on a ticket, and as he got “louder and louder,” the clerk hit the panic alarm to alert police, who said they found him still being loud and disruptive when they arrived.

A pretrial hearing for the Dunbar charge is set for Sept. 22 before Kanawha County Magistrate Jack Pauley. Pauley will also handle the new charge, though no hearing had been set Tuesday.

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