By Ed Runyan
A judge has referred Michael Lardis, 79, the man charged with misdemeanor menacing after a shootout with police July 1, to a senior court run by the Trumbull County Probate Court.
The defense attorney and prosecutor in the case agreed with Judge Thomas Gysegem of Warren Municipal Court to refer Lardis to the program, after a psychological evaluation determined that Lardis was not competent to stand trial on the menacing charges.
The evaluation determined that some of Lardis’ mental limitations are “associated with the aging process,” Judge Gysegem said. Lardis is scheduled to return to Warren Municipal Court at 10:15 a.m. Nov. 16.
Probate Judge Thomas A Swift said the senior court is the only one of its kind in the country. It is a diversion program for adults age 60 and older who’ve been charged with traffic or other misdemeanor charges.
About 220 people have gone through the court in the 14 months since it began.
In the case of people who have been ruled incompetent to stand trial, they are evaluated to determine whether they will be accepted into the program. If they are, they will be provided with mental health services with a goal of determining whether he or she can continue to live independently, Judge Swift said.
Lardis was charged after suffering a gunshot wound — apparently at the hands of police — during an incident in which a neighbor accused Lardis of pointing a gun at her.
Police responded to Lardis’ home in the 400 block of Parkman Road Southwest and determined that Lardis was inside. According to a transcript of police radio traffic, Lardis fired about six shots at police from an upstairs window, and officers fired back two times.
Lardis was injured in the shootout and was treated at a local hospital before making his first court appearance and posting bond.
Under terms of his bond, Lardis is required to stay in Niles with family and not travel to his home on Parkman Road or have any contact with his neighbors there. He’s also prohibited from driving.