Wednesday, November 30, 2016
By Ed Runyan
A city woman, 23, received a “conditional release” into the community Tuesday after being found not guilty by reason of insanity of felony stalking three weeks ago.
Megan Lentz will be monitored by Vince Arduin, forensic monitor for Trumbull County for the Forensic Psychiatric Center of Northeast Ohio in Austintown, and a nurse also will assist her, Judge Andrew Logan said during a hearing in common pleas court.
“It’s a matter of treatment. It’s not punitive, but if there are any problems, it will have to be addressed,” Judge Logan told Lentz.
Dr. Thomas Gazley of the Forensic Psychiatric Center conducted an evaluation of Lentz after Judge Logan ruled her not guilty by reason of insanity. Judge Logan is now following Dr. Gazley’s recommendation for the least restrictive way to address her illness, he said.
“I think you can do it,” Judge Logan told Lentz. “You seem to be doing better. Stay on your medication, and I think you will be all right.”
Lentz must continue with her counseling appointments and other requirements of her release, Judge Logan said. The court will have authority over Lentz’s freedom for 18 months - the length of time Lentz could have gotten in prison if she’d been convicted, Arduin said.
She will return to court at 9 a.m. May 26 for a review of how she’s doing.
Judge Logan ruled Nov. 4 that Lentz was not guilty of harassing a sheriff’s deputy and other law enforcement officials in the spring because she was suffering from a severe mental illness.
Lentz “did not know the wrongfulness of her acts” because of the illness, the judge ruled.
She was charged with felony menacing by stalking April 5 after a deputy with the sheriff’s office reported that Lentz created a disturbance at the county-owned Stone Building on Courthouse Square.
The deputy ordered Lentz to leave the Stone Building unless she had an appointment with a adult probation officer there, but she screamed and yelled at the deputy and another deputy and challenged the deputies to arrest her, according to a police report.
Lentz has been arrested 12 times since July 2014 on charges including vandalism, criminal trespass, contempt of court and misuse of the 911 system, according to jail records.