Former Commonwealth’s Attorney remembers longtime ‘no-nonsense’ Petersburg judge found dead

The Tri-Cities

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg Police are investigating after a man was found dead in a Petersburg home Friday night.

Petersburg authorities responded to the 1700 block of Westover Avenue around 8:45 p.m. When officers arrived they found a dead man.

Former Petersburg Commonwealth’s Attorney Cassandra Conover confirms to 8News Judge James D’Alton was found dead inside the home Friday night.

“He was very special and still is very special to me,” said Conover.

Conover moved to Petersburg in 1989 as an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney and was assigned to Judge D’Alton’s courtroom.

“So he held us to a high standard,” said Conover. ‘ I would not be where I am right now. I would not be the type of person that I am right now.”

Conover said he encouraged her as her career progressed in Petersburg.

“He sort of took me under his wing,” said Conover. “He would give me suggestions or presentation on the law. He was the utmost legal perfectionist .”

Conover tells 8News when she learned of D’Alton’s death Friday night she was shocked.

“I’m devastated,” said Conover. “Stunned. I still am.”

Conover described the judge as a gentle giant who ran a fair courtroom.

“He is remembered as one who has inspired hundreds of lawyers who have come before him,” said Conover. “His legacy is you can be professional. You can be adversarial in the courtroom. But when you got out of that courtroom when that case ended. You were a human being. You’re civil to each other.

Conover said Judge D’Alton retired in 2014.

“End of an era so to speak,” said Conover. “And it’s still just kind of surreal that he’s gone but he was a mentor to me.”

Details are limited. A death investigation is underway.

Stay with 8News for updates.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

StormTracker 8

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss

Local Events