By Joe Gorman
John Dellick showed no emotion Tuesday as a municipal-court jury found him not guilty of aggravated menacing for an argument he had with an ex-girlfriend last November on the Youngstown State University campus.
He quickly left the courtroom with his mother, Mahoning County Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick, after the verdict came in just before noon, wrapping up a two-day trial.
Outside city hall, his father, John Dellick Sr., said his son will continue to receive the “intensive counseling” he has been undergoing since a spate of legal issues befell the 20-year-old last year.
Jurors had to find that Dellick’s ex-girlfriend, Natalie Noday, was in fear of “severe physical harm” as he followed her across the YSU campus Nov. 6.
In a complaint to university police, Noday said Dellick had threatened to “kill you and your people and throw them in a dumpster,” and also that he ignored repeated requests to leave her alone, grabbed her by the shirt, knocked a cup of coffee out of her hand and kept her from entering a building on campus.
In testimony Monday, however, Noday said she “feared the unknown” but never thought Dellick would kill her and throw her in a dumpster.
Assistant City Prosecutor Shelli Freeze told jurors in her closing argument that there were eight witnesses who testified, and all of them said Noday was upset, crying and fearful the day she filed the complaint against Dellick with university police.
Freeze said jurors should use common sense because someone displaying those emotions was traumatized.
“Why was Natalie described by all those individuals as so upset, so distraught, so fearful?” Freeze asked. “Was her reaction consistent with this course of conduct?”
Dellick’s lawyer, Sam Amendolara, said in his closing argument that YSU police did no investigation before filing charges. He said they were quick to believe Noday without bothering to ask Dellick his side of the story.
Amendolara also said that Noday did not even say under direct examination from Freeze that she felt threatened. He said Freeze had to pry the information out of her on redirect.
“The prosecutor was almost like a dentist instead of a lawyer in that courtroom — pulling teeth,” Amendolara said.
Amendolara admitted his client had behaved badly that day and was a “nuisance,” but all Dellick wanted was for Noday to give him some time.
“Maybe John didn’t handle the situation the best way he could have,” Amendolara said, but his actions were not criminal.
Jurors deliberated for about an hour before returning their verdict. Judge Elizabeth Kobly presided over the case.
Freeze referred questions to city Prosecutor Dana Lantz, who declined to comment.
Dellick’s father said his family asked for no special treatment, and he said that was borne out this week as the proceedings progressed. He said his son has had some physical issues that have led to some mental-health concerns for which his son is getting treatment.
Dellick still faces several felony counts before a visiting judge in common pleas court in two separate incidents in 2013, one involving Noday and another for a road-rage incident. Both took place in the Canfield area.