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State v. Alexander

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District

June 20, 2013


Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-557694


ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: Timothy J. McGinty Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Adrienne E. Linnick Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

BEFORE: Keough, J., Jones, P.J., and E.A. Gallagher, J.



{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Regina Alexander, appeals from the judgment of the common pleas court, rendered after a jury verdict, finding her guilty of aggravated robbery and felonious assault. Finding no merit to the appeal, we affirm.

I. Background

{¶2} Alexander was indicted in a multi-count indictment on two counts of aggravated robbery, in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1) and (A)(3); two counts of felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1) and (A)(2); improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, in violation of R.C. 2923.16(B); and carrying a concealed weapon, in violation of R.C. 2923.12(A)(2). The aggravated robbery and felonious assault charges included one- and three-year firearm specifications; the other two counts included forfeiture specifications regarding a firearm and ammunition and were bifurcated prior to trial.

{¶3} At trial, the victim, Gary Goins, testified that he met Alexander on Facebook and began communicating with her. Goins said that one day Alexander suggested they meet up for sex and told him it would cost $100. At her request, Goins gave Alexander his telephone number. He said she then called him approximately 25 times over the course of several hours, although he only answered and spoke with her three times. Goins said that in the first conversation, which occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m., Alexander suggested they meet at East 99th Street and St. Clair Avenue, to which Goins agreed. Alexander then called Goins repeatedly over the next half hour; when he finally answered, she asked him where he was and told him that she was at the meeting place. Finally, at approximately 1 a.m., Goins answered another call from Alexander and told her that he was on his way.

{¶ 4} Goins said that he stayed on the phone with Alexander as he drove to the meeting place and that as he pulled up, Alexander asked him what kind of vehicle he was driving. When Goins confirmed that he was in a 1999 Ford Explorer, Alexander told him to pull over by the stop sign, which was under a street light. Goins testified that after he stopped as instructed, Alexander walked to the truck and told him to get out. When he did, she asked him whether he had a gun. When Goins looked at her quizzically, Alexander asked him again if he had a gun. Goins said that when he told Alexander that he did not carry a gun, she asked him a third time, in a loud voice, if he had a gun. Goins told Alexander that she was "trippin" and began walking back toward his truck. As he was about to get in, he saw a light-skinned black man with a square-shaped head walk up to the front of his truck, cock a gun, and point it at him. Goins testified that Alexander did not walk away when she saw the man with the gun.

{¶ 5} Goins said that he immediately understood that he had been set up to be robbed. The male repeatedly told Goins to "lay it down, " and when Goins told the male that he was not going to give him anything, the male pointed the gun at Goins's feet. Goins said that he started backing away from the male and then turned and ran away. Goins testified that the male chased him and then shot him in the back of his neck. Goins was able to run to safety and call 911 on his cell phone. As he was calling 911, he flagged down several Cleveland police detectives who were driving by and gave them a description of Alexander and the shooter. Goins was then taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he stayed for three weeks.

{¶ 6} After he was released from the hospital, Goins met with a Cleveland police detective, showed him Alexander's picture from her Facebook page, and told him that she had set him up to be robbed. A short time later, Goins noticed that Alexander's Facebook page had been deleted.

{¶ 7} Goins testified that several months later, he was at a medical clinic when he saw Alexander and the male who had tried to rob him. Goins alerted security, who called the police. When the police arrived, they questioned Alexander and the male. Later that evening, Goins positively identified Alexander and her companion, Joseph Mason, from photo lineups.

{¶ 8} The jury found Alexander guilty of both counts of aggravated robbery and both counts of felonious assault and not guilty of all firearm specifications. She subsequently pled guilty to carrying a concealed weapon and the State dismissed the improper handling of a firearm charge. The trial court then sentenced Alexander to an aggregate term of three years incarceration.

II. Analysis

A. Sufficiency and Manifest Weight of the Evidence

{¶ 9} In her first and second assignments of error, Alexander contends that her convictions for aggravated robbery and felonious assault were not supported by sufficient evidence and were against the manifest weight of the evidence.

{¶ 10} Crim.R. 29(A) provides for a judgment of acquittal "if the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction of such offense or offenses." The test for sufficiency requires a determination of whether the prosecution met its burden of production at trial. State v. Bowden, 8th Dist. No. 92266, 2009-Ohio-3598, ΒΆ 12. The relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime ...

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