March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Capitol graffiti suspect talks jail and pleading guilty


Thursday, Sept. 13 — Lansing artist Jeffrey Handley, who was arrested and charged Wednesday with spray painting graffiti at the Capitol, reflected on jail time and his upcoming trial in an interview a few hours after he was released on bail.

Handley, 20, who also goes by the name Geoph Aldora Espen, told City Pulse he committed the crime and plans to plead guilty.

Handley faces a felony charge for malicious destruction of tombs and memorials and two misdemeanors for defacing public property. Handley said if he served the maximum sentence for the felony, he could be in jail until he is 25. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in District Court on Sept. 20.

After he was arrested Wednesday, he said he was put in a holding cell in the City Jail with other people. The experience was an eye-opening one for the young artist.

“It was kind of rough even being in that little holding cell,” he said. “I was looking along the seam of the floor and I started looking up at the bars and I noticed they had a clock on the wall. You could hear each second tick and I was just thinking, ‘Wow, I don’t have any freedom right now or the ability to walk more than a 10 by 10 square.’ That’s definitely in violation of every natural instinct of a human being.”

Handley said a relative bailed him out the same day.

“There are some things I regret … but at the same time I’m a pretty honest person,” he said. “I’m almost more comfortable with being caught. We’ll see what happens. I’ll have to think about how I’m going to spend the next week.”

Handley had denied any involvement with the crime last week during an interview with City Pulse.

Handley said he’s hoping for “mercy” by being truthful. He said he acted alone.

“It’s so obvious in every way that I’m the prime suspect,’’ he said. “I intend on pleading guilty. I feel like that would end better for me in the long run rather than going through a lengthy trial and having them drop massive amounts of evidence against me.”

Handley said the police arrived at his home near Oakland Avenue and Pine Street a few days before his arrest and confiscated his laptop and cellphone. He said they found a text on his phone, which read: “I got the Capitol” and discovered the empty spray cans.

“It’s been an interesting process,” he said, adding that he was first questioned by a state trooper and investigator after being pulled out of class at Lansing Community College.