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State of Ohio v. Mary Chapple

November 3, 2011


Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-544200

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

Cite as State v. Chapple,



BEFORE: Sweeney, J., Boyle, P.J., and Jones, J.

{¶1} Defendant-appellant Mary Chapple ("defendant") appeals her convictions for assault, resisting arrest, and attempted harassment by an inmate. Appellant's sole contention on appeal is that her convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

{¶2} This matter proceeded to a bench trial and the evidence that was presented is summarized as follows:

{¶3} On November 11, 2010, defendant had plans to go out with her girlfriends. She arranged to have her second cousin, Ms. Smith, watch her children. Defendant returned home around 12:30 a.m. on November 12, 2010; around the same time her husband returned from work. Defendant and her husband began to argue. Ms. Smith saw them outside fighting when two men approached. Ms. Smith went back inside to tend to defendant's infant and shortly thereafter, defendant ran inside, frantic that her husband was bleeding. Defendant attempted to call the police. The two women went back outside where defendant's husband was found unconscious on the edge of the driveway and bleeding profusely. They applied towels to his wounds and awaited assistance. First, the fire department arrived, then the police, who were followed by EMS.

{¶4} Officer Tomaro and his partner Officer Mullin responded to a radio call for domestic violence at E. 114th St., which was defendant's home. Upon arriving, the officers called for an ambulance. Their attempts to determine what had occurred were unsuccessful. Both defendant and Ms. Smith testified that defendant was not responding to the officer's questions. By all accounts, defendant was hysterical, lying next to her husband and screaming his name. The officers stated they had to move defendant in order to permit EMS workers to do their job. This was confirmed by Ms. Smith and defendant.

{¶5} At this point the stories diverge. The officers consistently testified that they requested defendant to sit in the police car and repeatedly asked her to drop the blood soaked towel she was carrying with her. The officers said defendant voluntarily sat in the car but chose to swear at Officer Tomaro; ultimately she threw the bloody towel at his chest. This outraged the officer who began swearing at defendant and immediately proceeded to place her under arrest. According to the officers, defendant resisted this process by kicking Officer Tomaro and the door and also took a swing at him.

{¶6} According to defendant and Ms. Smith, defendant did not initially want to get in the police car, but eventually did so. They said Officer Tomaro was leaning over defendant and pressuring her to confess to causing her husband's injuries. Defendant denied throwing the towel at Tomaro but confirmed that he kept telling her to get it out of his car. Both women speculated that the towel dropped out of defendant's hand while Officer Mullin was handcuffing her. Ms. Smith admitted that she did not actually see the towel drop. Both Ms. Smith and defendant denied that defendant had kicked or hit anyone or anything; stating instead that defendant was having a hard time fitting in the cruiser's backseat because of her size.

{¶7} Officer Tomaro said he knew that the towel had transferred blood onto his dark navy blue uniform shirt even though he could not see it. He was very concerned that the blood may have contained some type of disease. He threw out the shirt and it had not been photographed or tested for blood. Officer Mullin said he saw blood on his partner's uniform shirt. Every witness confirmed that the towel was literally dripping with blood.

{¶8} Detective Hudelson interviewed defendant in jail. According to him, defendant admitted to throwing the towel at the Officer but said she threw it at his feet, not his chest. He also recalled her saying she kicked him and the door because she did not want him to close the door. Det. Hudelson's report reflects that defendant said she kicked the car door.

{ΒΆ9} After deliberating, the trial court found defendant guilty of assault in violation of R.C. 2903.13(A); resisting arrest in violation of R.C. 2921.33(A); and attempted harassment by an inmate in violation of R.C. 2923.02/2921.38(B). The court placed defendant on a term of community control sanctions, with conditions and she has ...

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