What started out as an attempt to prove corruption in the Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has ended with a Louisa resident looking at prison time in the Virginia Department of Corrections.
During opening statements to the jury on Nov. 19, special prosecutor Jeff Haislip said that James “J.R.” Stallings began going through the correct channels when he thought that Louisa County Commonwealth’s Attorney Russell “Rusty” McGuire lied about where he lived while seeking election.
Stallings believed that McGuire, along with Senator Tom Garrett, had defrauded the electoral process by means of fraud, perjury and public statements made to the press.
According to Haislip, Stallings began posting pictures of McGuire’s alleged residence and divorce decree on a website that Stallings managed. In his blog, Stallings called McGuire a “red headed, white skinned, blue eyed devil” and talked about dragging them [McGuire and Garrett] to the streets and beating them.
During opening arguments, defense attorney Horace Hunter said that Stallings was exercising his right to criticize his government and wanted to prove whether McGuire lived in Louisa County at the time of the election.
At no time did Stallings threaten to do bodily harm, Hunter said, though his writing did become aggressive. Hunter explained that one had to read the entire document, not just select one or two sections to understand what Stallings meant.
Haislip said Stallings had visited the Louisa County registrar’s office and obtained McGuire’s voting address, then went to the property, where he took pictures and promptly brought them back to show the registrar.
McGuire said he took action after that by placing no trespassing signs on his property.
“I didn’t know Stallings or what he was capable of,” McGuire said.
According to McGuire’s wife, after talking to a psychologist about what was happening with Stallings, they grew more concerned for their safety.
She said they changed their routines and slept in different houses, adding that McGuire was losing a lot of sleep.
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 28 edition of The Central Virginian.