The man who operates a website about Putnam County was arrested Friday and charged with violating a personal safety order filed by a Hurricane pediatrician.
Mark V. Halburn, 55, of Dunbar, formerly of Hurricane, allegedly violated an order meant to keep him away from Dr. Joseph Matusic Jr., a pediatrician in Putnam, through 2018. Halburn runs the website, putnamcountynews.com. It used to be known as Putnam Live.
Matusic obtained a personal safety order against Halburn in February 2016, according to a complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court charging Halburn with a misdemeanor.
Cabell County Circuit Judge Chris Chiles was appointed by special assignment to preside over Halburn’s appeal of the order. But Chiles ruled that it should remain in effect through February 2018, states the complaint written by Putnam Sheriff’s Cpl. Shawn Johnson.
Johnson wrote he received a complaint from Matusic that Halburn had been on his property taking photographs of a barn that had burnt down. The doctor told the deputy that he took a photograph of Halburn on his property and obtained the registration of the vehicle he was in. The complaint states the registration showed Halburn was the owner of the vehicle.
“Matusic advised Mark Vance Halburn that he was trespassing and in violation of the personal safety protective order,” Johnson wrote in the complaint. “Mark Vance Halburn then left the property. Mark Vance Halburn posted a story regarding the fire as well as a short summary of the personal safety protective order.”
Halburn began writing about Matusic several years ago, beginning with a story in 2012 after the doctor’s home in the affluent Stonegate subdivision of Hurricane burned down. Halburn also wrote about Matusic and his wife’s problems with their former Winfield day care and covered whether the family of the pediatrician were driving vehicles with expired tags.
Halburn is being held in the South Central Regional jail on $1,000 bond. Putnam deputies served a warrant for his arrest on Friday in Dunbar. Kanawha Magistrate Rusty Casto set Halburn’s bond before transferring the case to Putnam County.
On his website, Halburn wrote that Matusic “has taken out restraining orders against this publisher after our reports about those issues.”
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