Pima County prosecutors secured a criminal conviction in the 2022 threats against Mark Finchem.
Ronald Keith Halverson made threats against former Arizona State Representative Mark Finchem and was convicted on Tuesday, Jan. 16, of misdemeanor threats and intimidation stemming from a July 2022 phone call to the Oro Valley politician’s office.
Halverson left a voicemail on Rep. Finchem’s office phone on July 21, 2022, and in the message, Halverson stated that he saw Finchem with former President Donald Trump and threatened specifically to walk up behind Finchem and cut his throat at a supermarket.
Pima County Attorney Laura Conover says threat cases are some of the most difficult types to prosecute because Freedom of Speech is involved. “While the First Amendment defines us as a nation, it’s also important to stress that we will absolutely prosecute threats made with specific intent, planning, mode, and location. And today we take another affirmative step in ensuring public trust that the law will be applied equally, regardless of politics,” Conover said.
The bench trial included testimony from an employee at the Arizona House of Representatives whose job included monitoring constituent phone messages, Mr. Finchem, and a Department of Public Safety detective who investigated the complaint.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Matthew Caylor, the prosecutor on the case, noted that holding people accountable for making politically motivated threats is crucial, particularly in the heated political climate nationwide.
“It’s important because there are threats across the nation against politicians,” he said. “There have been threats against other politicians in Arizona.” On Wednesday, January 24th, Halverson was sentenced to 12 months of unsupervised probation, with conditions including mandatory anger management, a civic responsibility course, and restitution of $346 to the victim for travel expenses to court. Mr. Finchem did not attend the sentencing.
Media Contact: Shawndrea Thomas
Director of Communications
Pima County Attorney’s Office
(520) 724-5738 (Office)
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