By joe gorman
Voters can still vote for John Crea for Youngstown mayor even though he entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in Youngstown Municipal Court this week.
The 46-year-old Crea remains in Mahoning County jail, where he’s been since he was arrested on a probation violation and three counts of aggravated menacing Oct. 2. He had served 21 days in jail after he was accused of threatening a City Hall security guard with his dog just before Labor Day weekend.
His attorney filed a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf Tuesday. Crea is set to have a status hearing at 9 a.m. Wednesday before Judge Robert Milich.
As part of his probation in the first case, Crea was released from jail and ordered to undergo a mental-health evaluation. He never showed up, which is why the warrant was issued for his arrest.
Neighbors at his East Midlothian Boulevard apartment filed a report with police Sept. 30 alleging he threatened them. A day earlier, a pastor reported that Crea had disrupted a church service.
Joyce Kale-Pesta, head of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, said Crea’s name will remain on the ballot despite his legal woes, and votes for him will be counted.
She said the only way votes will not be counted is if he withdraws from the race. His name would remain on the ballot then, but the votes would not be counted, she said.
At his Oct. 3 arraignment on the new charges, Crea was ordered to undergo a competency evaluation at the jail.
A municipal court judge can order a person to be incarcerated and psychologically evaluated, and the police can arrest and jail a person to get evaluated. Neither, however, has the authority under Ohio law to force the person into treatment. Only a probate judge does, officials said.