Warren man wants to defend self in court

WARREN — A Warren man charged in two separate cases involving people held against their will has decided to defend himself against an array of felony charges in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Harold Travis Jr., 25, 1228 Elm Road NE, appeared Monday morning before Judge Peter J. Kontos , who told the defendant he will need to put into writing his decision to release his attorneys.

Travis also objected to the judge placing his speedy trial time on hold while he underwent a psychological evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

“You have violated my speedy trial rights,” Travis told Kontos, who told the defendant to be back in court next week with the proper paperwork.

Defendants in Ohio have to go to trial within 270 days or less when incarcerated, unless delays are caused by legal maneuvers such as competency evaluations. Kontos ordered the evaluation on Travis’ competency in September after Travis started making pro se motions in the case in August.

Court records show that Travis in June 2017 waived his speedy trial rights for 120 days.

According to jail records, Travis has been held since May 23, 2017, in the Trumbull County Jail pending the posting of a $250,000 bond.

According to assistant Trumbull County Prosecutor Charles Morrow, the psychological report showed Travis to be competent to stand trial. The defendant also objected to the contents of the report from the Forensic Psychiatric Center in Austintown.

Travis is facing charges of felonious assault and abduction connected to a July 12, 2016, incident at a Douglas Street NW home. A man who was detained at the home told police he was punched 10 to 15 times in the face and poked with a screwdriver. According to the report, the man escaped the home as he jumped from a bathroom window.

Travis is also charged in a February 2015 incident in Warren, facing two counts of kidnapping and single counts each of felonious assault, extortion and having weapons while under disability. According to a police report, these charges are connected to Travis allegedly holding his wife and baby hostage in their Elm Road home.

However, court officials said the victim in the case wants to change her statements to police, but Kontos ordered her to talk to an attorney before formally recanting.

No trial date has been set for either case, court records show.