Financial, legal issues plagued owner Long list of priors before Colorado
BY ZACHARY DUPONT firstname.lastname@example.org
The owner of Return to Nature Funeral Home, the southern Colorado funeral home raided by law enforcement due to improperly storing more than 115 bodies at their Penrose location, had significant financial and legal problems predating his move to Colorado Springs.
The Gazette reported last week that Jon Michael Hallford, 43, had recently suffered serious legal and financial problems in Colorado connected to his business, including a lawsuit filed in Colorado’s 4th Judicial District Court that resulted in a default judgment of over $18,000 against Hallford and Hallfordhomes LLC.
Hallford’s problems with money and the law, however, long predate his move to Colorado from Oklahoma around 2016.
According to a 2006 story from The Tulsa World, Hallford — who was running for Muskogee City Council at the time — was charged with one count of misdemeanor pointing a deadly weapon after an incident that he described as a prank gone wrong.
The Tulsa World reported that Hallford and two others staged a fake robbery as a prank on a group of young women at a slumber party in Wagoner County, Okla., entering the home wearing masks and holding unloaded firearms.
Hallford told The Tulsa World at the time that he used “very bad judgment” in taking
part in the prank, but that he also felt the timing of the charges may have been politically motivated.
“This (happened) last August, and here it is moments before the election and charges are filed, and now it’s an issue,” Hallford said to The Tulsa World at the time.
Further reporting from The Tulsa World confirmed that Hallford would later plead guilty to the firearm charge, and that he suffered an “overwhelming” loss in the Muskogee City Council election.
Legal issues did not end there for Hallford while living in Oklahoma. Court records obtained by The Gazette from the state of Oklahoma show that Hallford had numerous civil disputes spanning several years and was ordered to pay thousands of dollars to various entities before moving to Colorado.
Tulsa County Court records show that, in 2006, Hallford was ordered to pay over $8,000 to Creditors Recovery Corporation.
In 2009, court records from Tulsa County show Hallford was ordered to pay over $1,000 in a default judgment to an apartment complex after being served a forcible entry and detainer and failing to appear for his court date.
In 2011, court records from Tulsa County show that Hallford and Hallford Cremation & Funeral Options LLC were sued by Shannon Square LLC. Records show that the court issued a default judgment against Hallford in the amount of more than $5,000 after he failed to appear at court for a hearing.
Further court records from the 2011 civil case show that in 2013 Shannon Square still had yet to be paid and that it believed “that Defendant J. Michael Hallford is possessed of property which Defendant conceals and refuses to apply to the payment of said judgment.”
Records from the Oklahoma Secretary of State website show that Hallford Cremation & Funeral Options entered its article of organization in 2010, but was terminated only a year later in 2011.
No records exist with the Oklahoma Funeral Board for the business Hallford Cremation & Funeral Options.
Civil court records from Tulsa County indicate that Hallford had worked at Foster-petering Funeral home in 2006 and Moore Funeral Home in 2010.
Court records also show that Hallford had been married and divorced to three different woman prior to marrying his current wife and co-owner of Return to Nature Funeral Home, Carie Hallford.
In addition to the 2006 gun charge, Hallford had also previously pleaded guilty to two minor criminal charges of operating a motor vehicle without a license and driving without a seatbelt. A 2005 criminal case against Hallford in Wagoner County alleging reckless conduct was dismissed only two weeks after its filing.
Several law enforcement agencies remained active at the Return to Nature Funeral home site in Penrose on Monday. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office stated during its Friday news conference that it had yet to make arrests in connection to the raid of the business.
The Gazette, Colorado Springs