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State of Ohio v. William R. Carson

September 30, 2011



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dickinson, Judge.

Cite as

State v. Carson,




{¶1} Police sergeant Nathan Simpson saw William Carson attempting to open a sliding glass door at the back of Linda Toporowsky's house. When Mr. Carson heard Sergeant Simpson approaching, he ran. The Grand Jury indicted Mr. Carson for burglary, attempted burglary, breaking and entering, and possessing criminal tools. A jury convicted him of attempted burglary and criminal trespassing, and the trial court sentenced him to one year in prison. Mr. Carson has appealed, arguing that his attempted burglary conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence and is against the manifest weight of the evidence. We affirm because there was sufficient evidence presented at trial to convict him of attempted burglary and his conviction is not against the manifest weight of the evidence.


{¶2} In the early morning hours of December 15, 2008, Deanne Wallick was lying on a couch in her family room, trying to rest despite feeling ill from being pregnant. She heard a noise and looked up to see a person standing in the entryway. At first she thought it was her husband, but the person did not do any of the things her husband would normally do when he came downstairs. When the person went into the dining room, she ran upstairs, woke her husband, and called 911. Police searched the house, but did not find anyone inside. During their investigation, they noticed that a door from the kitchen to the garage and a door from the garage to the outside were open.

{¶3} As officers were standing in Ms. Wallick's driveway discussing the incident, they received a dispatch regarding a house on the next street over. Jennifer Woodard had called 911 to report that there was a minivan parked at the end of her driveway, preventing her from leaving for work. The officers responded and determined that the van was registered to Alfred Clark of Akron. The officers decided to withdraw from the scene and wait to see if anyone approached the van. As Sergeant Simpson was watching the van from the porch of Ms. Woodard's house, he saw a man emerge from between two houses across the street. He saw the man walk up the street and approach the front door of a house until a motion-sensor light turned on. When the light turned on, the man quickly put one hand in his pocket, turned around and walked away. Sergeant Simpson then saw the man walk around the back of the house.

{¶4} Sergeant Simpson followed the man to the backyard, but briefly lost sight of him when the man turned a corner. When the sergeant entered the backyard, he heard the sound of a sliding door. He saw the man that he had been following attempting to open a sliding door at the back of Ms. Toporowsky's house. He tried to sneak up on the man, but stepped on some branches that gave away his position. When the man at the sliding door looked back, Sergeant Simpson told him that he was under arrest. The man ran and Sergeant Simpson chased him. When the man refused to stop, the sergeant deployed his Taser. The other officers arrived soon after and handcuffed the man, who identified himself as Mr. Carson. Mr. Carson told the officers that he lived on Cree and was out looking for his dog. After being informed that there is no road named Cree in Medina, Mr. Carson was silent. At the station, Mr. Carson admitted that Alfred Clark is his brother and that he had driven the van to its location, claiming that he was dropping off a woman named Vicki. The officers determined that Mr. Carson lived on Cree Avenue in Akron.


{¶5} Mr. Carson's first assignment of error is that the evidence at trial was insufficient to convict him of attempted burglary. Whether a conviction is supported by sufficient evidence is a question of law that this Court reviews de novo. State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St. 3d 380, 386 (1997); State v. West, 9th Dist. No. 04CA008554, 2005-Ohio-990, at ¶33. We must determine whether, viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, it could have convinced the average finder of fact of Mr. Carson's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St. 3d 259, paragraph two of the syllabus (1991).

{ΒΆ6} The jury convicted Mr. Carson of attempted burglary under Sections 2911.12(A)(4) and 2923.02(A) of the Ohio Revised Code. Under Section 2911.12(A)(4), "[n]o person, by force, stealth, or deception, shall . . . [t]respass in a permanent . . . habitation of any person when any person other than an accomplice of the offender is present or likely to be present." Under Section 2923.02(A), "[n]o person, purposely or knowingly, and when purpose or knowledge is sufficient ...

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