Richard J. Beatty II

Richard J. Beatty II

Intentionally damaging a public monument may earn a homeless man up to two years in jail.

Richard J. Beatty II, 31, pleaded guilty Thursday in Crawford County Court of Common Pleas to knocking over a religious statue outside Meadville's St. Brigid Roman Catholic Church last summer.

Meadville Police Department arrested Beatty on June 7, 2018, for intentionally pushing over a large wooden religious statue outside the church on Arch Street around midday that day. Beatty was charged by police with institutional vandalism of a place of worship, intentional desecration of a public monument and criminal mischief.

Beatty pleaded guilty before Judge John Spataro to intentional desecration of a public monument, a second-degree misdemeanor, as part of a plea agreement with the Crawford County District Attorney's Office. He faces up to two years in jail and a $5,000 fine when he's sentenced April 4.

If convicted in county court on all counts, Beatty, who has no known address, could have faced up to nine years and three months in jail and $20,300 in fines.

He faced up to seven years in jail and a $15,000 fine for the institutional vandalism count, a third-degree felony; two years and a $5,000 fine on the intentional desecration count; and three months and a $300 fine on the criminal mischief charge, a summary count.

Though arrested last summer, Beatty's preliminary hearing to determine if there was enough evidence to take him to trial was delayed until December 2018 because of competency issues. Beatty underwent a psychiatric examination at Torrance State Hospital following his arrest.

At a competency hearing for Beatty Nov. 27 in county court, Spataro found Beatty competent to stand trial based on the psychiatrist’s report.

Beatty remains jailed in lieu of $25,000 bond and awaits sentencing.

At Beatty's competency hearing, Spataro ruled Beatty cannot be released on $25,000 bond without further court order due to the psychiatric report.

Under Spataro's order, to be released on bail Beatty must be housed at an appropriate mental health facility with his mental health issues addressed with an appropriate plan.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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