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Alleged ‘Idol’ stalker ruled unfit for trial

Calif. man tried to visit Jessica Sierra; to be placed in mental facility

A 60-year-old California man charged with stalking former “American Idol” finalist Jessica Sierra is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled.

Lawyers said at Tuesday’s hearing they would work to place Daniel Young in a mental health facility, a rare move for someone charged with a misdemeanor. Meanwhile, he will stay in Hillsborough County jail.

At a previous court hearing, Sierra testified that Young called her grandparents last year, posing as a record producer. He persuaded them to provide Sierra’s phone number, she told a judge. Several calls ensued, prosecutors said.

In January, while Sierra was in Tampa visiting relatives, Young flew to town. He told a cab driver he was going to marry Sierra, then was arrested outside her grandparents’ south Tampa home.

Defendants charged with misdemeanors cannot go to state hospitals. Typically they are allowed to go into diversion programs to seek treatment on their own or, if the defendants are not potentially violent, they are given short jail terms and released.

With Young’s stalking charge, however, County Judge Joelle Ober said she would be willing to make the unusual move of committing him to a private mental health treatment center when a space opens up.

Young’s driver’s license lists a post office box address in Pearblossom, Calif. Records show he has lived in San Bernardino, Pasadena and Little Rock, Calif.

Sierra, a Tampa native, was a top 10 finalist on “American Idol” last year.