Former mayor Clyde Haulman found not guilty in assault case

ejhammond@vagazette.com

WILLIAMSBURG — Former Williamsburg Mayor Clyde Haulman was found not guilty of assault and battery in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court earlier this month.

Haulman, who was mayor at the time until his term expired on June 30, was charged on March 13 after Gary Shelly, a Williamsburg landlord and long-time, persistent critic of the mayor, filed a criminal complaint for Class 1 misdemeanor assault and battery.

The charge stemmed from a March 10 incident that took place following City Council's first meeting in the new Stryker Center. In a written criminal complaint, Shelly said that Haulman assaulted him.

"I was assaulted. The assailant very aggressively approached me, put his face close to mine in an intimidating manner, grabbed my tie (choking me) and yanking it back and forth, leaving me unable to defend myself," Shelly wrote. "There were witnesses."

Stephen D. Harris, an attorney at Geddy, Harris, Franck & Hickman, LLP, was one of Haulman's attorneys. He said that witnesses' testimony during the Dec. 9 trial — including Shelly's — did not prove an assault had occurred.

"Mr. Shelly claimed that Mr. Haulman committed an assault and battery on him, and that's what he stated to get the criminal complaint," Harris said. "The fact is, when the evidence was heard, the evidence was not sufficient to prove an assault and battery. When he testified, he didn't testify to any of that and he basically said he couldn't remember what happened with his tie."

Several others who were present at the March 10 meeting testified at the trial, including Deputy Chief of Police Andy Barker, current Mayor Paul Freiling and Mark Barham, the city's director of information technology.

"I hope this puts all the unfounded accusations behind and we can move forward. ... I think justice was served," Haulman said Tuesday.

Haulman, who served on City Council for 16 years, announced he was not seeking re-election in February.

Information from the Virginia Gazette archives was used in this report. Hammond can be reached by phone at 757-247-4951.

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