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Accused stalker to be sent home

The man accused of stalking an American Idol contestant will return to California for mental illness treatment.

By By COLLEEN JENKINS
Published May 26, 2006


TAMPA - As soon as a flight can be arranged, the man accused of stalking former American Idol finalist Jessica Sierra will head home to California.

Florida officials aren't necessarily finished with Daniel Robert Young, who showed up uninvited in January at the Tampa home of Sierra's grandparents.

But after Young's 100-plus days in state custody, mental health experts have decided they can't justify keeping the 60-year-old man, who posed as a music talent scout, in a secure facility any longer.

Court-appointed experts say Young still isn't competent to stand trial on a misdemeanor stalking charge. He isn't considered a threat either, so County Judge Joelle Ann Ober agreed with attorneys on Thursday that sending Young home for more outpatient treatment was the best option for now.

"I'm glad to hear that he is getting the treatment he needs," Sierra said through her Los Angeles publicist Thursday. "I am relieved that this situation is behind me now, and I am able to focus my full attention on my music career."

Dr. David Kershaw of Mental Health Care Inc., where Young has been treated, assured the court that staff members would stay with Young until he boards the plane to return to his adult daughter.

They also have arranged for outpatient care at a Los Angeles County facility where he previously has been treated for mental illness and will give him a 30-day supply of his bipolar and anti-psychotic medications.

But California authorities can't force him to seek outpatient treatment, Kershaw noted.

Young said he hadn't heard about the court's order but figured he would follow it.

"They leave me no choice," he said.

He has bigger problems, Young said. He hasn't been able to make payments on his home of 24 years since getting locked up, first in jail, then in the mental health center.

He said foreclosure proceedings are underway. And because he blames Sierra for setting up his arrest as a publicity stunt, Young said he plans to sue her unless she gives him money to get his home back.

"I've lost everything over this," he said.

Calling Sierra again would bring Young more trouble. The judge ordered Thursday that he have no contact with Sierra, who is in Nashville recording an album, or her family.

Young started calling the 20-year-old Tampa native last fall. He says he wanted to swap country western songs he wrote for singing lessons from Sierra. And he thought he might be in love.

Sierra said multiple daily phone calls on her cell phone progressed to flowers and jewelry, then to increasingly angry messages when she refused to call him back.

She tried unsuccessfully to get authorities in Tennessee and California to help her. When Young told her he was taking a taxi to her grandparents' home, she had Tampa police meet him there.

"The man needs some help," said Betty Sierra, Jessica's grandmother. "Jessica didn't want anything bad to happen to him. But unfortunately, you don't know what people like that are going to do."

Attorneys will meet with Ober on Aug. 31 to discuss Young's progress.

If he regains competency within a year of being found incompetent, prosecutors can bring him back to face the charge, which carries a maximum of one year in the county jail. If not, the case must be abandoned.

[Last modified May 26, 2006, 06:04:03]


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