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State of Ohio v. Justin K. Mann

October 13, 2011


APPEAL from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. (C.P.C. No. 10CR-01-0499)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: French, J.

Cite as

State v. Mann,



{¶1} Defendant-appellant, Justin K. Mann, appeals from the judgment of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, which convicted him, following a jury trial, of one count of burglary and two counts of robbery. Because the trial court's judgment is supported by sufficient evidence and the manifest weight of the evidence, and because the trial court committed no reversible error, we affirm.

{¶2} On January 27, 2010, the Franklin County Grand Jury indicted appellant on one count of burglary in violation of R.C. 2911.12, a second-degree felony, one count of robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.02, a second-degree felony, and one count of robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.02, a third-degree felony.

{¶3} The indictment arose out of a home invasion that occurred during the early morning hours of January 18, 2010. On that date, Cindy Hawthorne, who resided at 38 Delray Road, asked her friend, Amber Ely, to drive her to a convenient store. Ely lived in a nearby apartment building, located at 2501 South High Street, with her boyfriend, Brandon.

{¶4} Because her home had recently been burglarized, Hawthorne asked her friend, Kris Kellermeyer, to housesit while she was gone. Sometime after Hawthorne left, Kellermeyer heard the back screen door open. He immediately called 911. He then heard the glass in the back door window shatter and observed an arm reach through the broken window to unlock the door. Two men entered the house. One of the men pointed a gun at Kellermeyer and ordered him to sit down and hang up the phone or he would blow his head off. Kellermeyer testified that he was scared when the man pointed the gun at him, so he did as he was told. Shortly thereafter, a police dispatcher called the house to inquire about the aborted 911 call. The man with the gun ordered Kellermeyer to tell the dispatcher that everything was fine.

{¶5} The same man then held the gun 9 to 12 inches from Kellermeyer's head and demanded that he surrender the gold necklace he was wearing. Kellermeyer's necklace was somewhat unique in that he had attached a bracelet to it as a means of lengthening it. The two men then took several video games and DVDs and unsuccessfully attempted to remove a flat screen television from its mount. They then fled the house through the back door. At trial, Kellermeyer identified appellant as the person who unlocked the back door, pointed the gun at him, and demanded that he relinquish his necklace.

{¶6} Columbus Police Officer Norman Baldwin was dispatched to 38 Delray to investigate the aborted 911 call. Baldwin walked to the back of the residence, where he observed broken glass on the back step. He noticed two men wearing jeans and dark hooded sweatshirts running away from the house. Baldwin chased the men on foot to a nearby apartment building located at 2501 South High Street. Once inside the building, he followed a trail of DVDs, video games, and wet footprints down a hallway to an apartment. Baldwin radioed for backup, and several other officers arrived. Baldwin knocked on the apartment door, and one of the occupants, Brandon Birt, let the officers inside. One of the officers discovered a second man, Donald Justice, hiding in one of the bedrooms. The officers held Birt and Justice in the apartment and contacted the robbery squad.

{¶7} Baldwin returned to his cruiser. Shortly thereafter, he received a dispatch stating that a possible suspect in the robbery had arrived at the South High apartment. Baldwin returned to the apartment and found appellant seated in the living room. Appellant had a long, fresh cut on his left forearm, and he was wearing a long, gold necklace.

{¶8} Baldwin then transported Kellermeyer to a location just outside the South High apartment building. Baldwin testified that he separately presented appellant, Birt, and Justice to Kellermeyer, and Kellermeyer identified the necklace appellant was wearing as the one stolen from him during the robbery. On cross-examination, Baldwin admitted that he could not recall whether Kellermeyer identified appellant as the person who held him at gunpoint. At trial, Kellermeyer testified that he identified appellant at the scene as the person who held him at gunpoint and ordered him to surrender his necklace.

{¶9} Gary Bowman, the lead detective on the case, directed Detective Yvonne Taliaferro of the Crime Scene Search Unit to take photographs and collect evidence from both Hawthorne's home and the South High apartment. Taliaferro obtained fingerprint evidence from the television in Hawthorne's home; however, none of the fingerprints matched those of appellant, Justice or Birt. Photographs taken of appellant following his apprehension depict him with a long, jagged cut on his left forearm and a long, gold necklace around his neck. Taliaferro recovered the necklace from appellant and logged it as evidence. She also retrieved an air pistol and an empty clip from a closet in the South High apartment.

{¶10} Bowman interviewed appellant at 7:17 a.m. on January 18, 2010. Appellant initially stated that he broke the glass in Hawthorne's back door but never entered the house. He later revised his story, asserting that Justice forced him at gunpoint to break the glass, unlock the door, and participate in the robbery. Appellant told Bowman that he cut his arm on the broken glass when he unlocked the door. He further said that after the robbery, he ran to Birt's apartment, but was denied entrance by Justice; he then hid in the closet of an apartment across the hallway.

{¶11} In the meantime, around 7:30 a.m. on January 18, 2010, Columbus Police Officer James Massie responded to a call from a man who resided at 8 Delray Road, which is approximately 150 to 200 feet from Hawthorne's residence and 75 to 100 feet from the South High apartment building. The man told Massie that he found a gun in an alley just outside the fence that surrounded his property. Massie retrieved the gun from the man, who had taken it inside his house. Massie then transported the gun to police headquarters and turned it over to Bowman. The gun was later identified as an air pistol. At trial, Kellermeyer identified the air pistol as the one appellant used during the robbery.

{¶12} DNA analyst Dawn Fryback testified that DNA samples collected from appellant and Justice were compared to DNA evidence recovered from the air pistol found in the alley. The DNA evidence on the air pistol indicated a DNA mixture from at least two individuals. Comparison of the DNA samples taken from appellant and Justice to the DNA evidence on the air pistol excluded Justice as being a contributor, but did not exclude appellant as being a contributor. According to Fryback, the probability that a randomly selected individual would be included as a possible contributor to the DNA mixture found on the air pistol is 1 in 105,000. On cross-examination, Fryback acknowledged that the DNA comparison did not conclusively establish that the DNA recovered from the air pistol was from appellant.

{ΒΆ13} Upon this evidence, the jury found appellant guilty as charged in the indictment. The trial court sentenced ...

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