Wednesday, Dec. 5 — As long as he follows through with probation, Jeffrey Scott Handley Jr. will not have a felony on his record nor serve jail time for tagging Capitol property with graffiti three months ago.
Handley, 20, was sentenced today by Circuit Judge Paula Manderfield for crimes related to spray-painting graffiti on two pillars at the Capitol and writing the words: “Give art a chance” on the back of a nearby war memorial in early September.
Manderfield accepted a petition filed by Handley’s attorney, Denise Hairston, under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which places conditions on sentencing. The HYTA is for youthful offenders between the ages of 17 and 21 who plead guilty to their crime. As long as Handley doesn’t violate his 24-month probation period, he will not face jail time and a felony will not appear on his record.
Handley, who also goes by the name Geoph Aldora Espen, was ordered to pay $3,085.25 for the damages to the Capitol and memorial, as well as $900 in court and attorney fees. He will also have to pay restitution for damages done to a building on Washington Avenue downtown — the cost will be determined at a later date.
Handley said he is relieved that the situation has come to a close and that he doesn’t have a felony on his record. He said he will continue to go to school at Lansing Community College and is actively trying to find a job to help pay the fines.
“It was surreal to have my life and future completely in the hand of an external power,” Handley said about today’s sentencing. Handley was sporting a black suit with a white tie and was clean-shaven as he stood before Manderfield.
He said the recent legal troubles have thrown his life into a “wild spin” and he has gained a “healthy respect for the law” because of all that has happened. He said he was “eager to demonstrate” to the court and to Lansing that he had learned his lesson.