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State v. Evans

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

June 21, 2013

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
LARRY N. EVANS, JR. Defendant-Appellee

Appeal from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 08-CR-1

For Plaintiff-Appellant: JAMES J. MAYER, JR. RICHLAND CO. PROSECUTOR JILL M. COCHRAN.

For Defendant-Appellee GREGORY W. MEYERS OFFICE OF OHIO PUBLIC DEFENDER.

JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J.

OPINION

Delaney, J.

{¶1} Appellant the State of Ohio appeals from the August 14, 2012 Order on Continued Commitment of appellee Larry N. Evans, Jr.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

{¶2} Appellant and appellee stipulated to the following facts underlying appellee's indictment upon multiple capital charges.

Appellee Kills 2 People and Fires Upon 7 Others in the Grip of a Bipolar Manic State: December 26, 2007

{¶3} In the early morning hours of December 26, 2007, Robert Houseman was removing items from his vehicle in the driveway of his residence in Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio. Appellee lived in the opposite side of the duplex. Appellee came out of his house with a loaded semi-automatic rifle, approached Houseman, aimed, and fired two rounds into his chest. Houseman fell to the ground, "shaking and quivering." Appellee approached Houseman on the ground, wounded but still alive, aimed the assault rifle at Houseman's head, and fired again into Houseman's skull.

{¶4} Appellee's brother, Mansfield Police Officer Brian Evans, and appellee's wife Carolyn Evans, pulled into appellee's driveway in a vehicle. Appellee immediately fired upon Brian and Carolyn, aiming and firing through the windshield. Brian exited the vehicle and told Carolyn to drive away. Appellee shot Brian through the right lung and Brian died.

{¶5} Shortly after the killings of Houseman and Brian Evans, appellee's sister, Kimberly Evans and his sister-in-law Trina Evans (Brian's wife) pulled into appellee's driveway. Trina was driving and Kimberly was in the front passenger seat. Appellee walked to the hood of the vehicle, "looked directly at Tina Evans, " smiled, and shot her in the shoulder. He then walked to the other side of the vehicle and shot Kimberly Evans in the arm. Trina attempted to maneuver the vehicle to escape and appellee fired repeatedly on the vehicle. Kimberly and Trina were hospitalized for the wounds sustained from being shot by appellee.

{¶6} Sgt. Michael Viars, Dep. Eric Winbigler, Lt. John King, and Dep. Duane Kilgore of the Richland County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene and appellee opened fire upon all four officers. Appellee fired numerous rounds from an assault rifle, a shotgun, a muzzleloader, and "handgun projectiles." The officers sought cover behind their cruisers.

{¶7} As a result of the shootings, the residence appellee was living in sustained $32, 298 worth of damage. A Richland County Sheriff's cruiser sustained $744 worth of damage.

{¶8} Appellee was apprehended and charged by indictment with three counts of aggravated murder with firearm and death penalty specifications; three counts of attempted aggravated murder with firearm specifications; three counts of felonious assault with firearm specifications; four counts of attempted murder with firearm specifications and specifications that the offender discharged a firearm; four counts of felonious assault with a firearm specification and specification that the offender discharged a firearm; and two counts of vandalism.

Appellee is Found NGRI and Committed to Timothy B. Moritz Hospital: September 3, 2008

{¶9} Appellee was found not guilty of the crimes charged by reason of insanity by a three-judge panel[1] on September 3, 2008. Appellee was committed to the Timothy B. Moritz Hospital ("TBM") upon a finding of insanity predicated upon an evaluation that he was in the grip of a bipolar manic psychotic state. The order of commitment filed on September 3, 2008 states in pertinent part:

The court finds by clear and convincing evidence that:
1. [Appellee] is a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order.
2. [Appellee] is a very dangerous killer who killed two people and attempted to kill seven others, and he must be confined in strict custody to protect public safety. (Emphasis in original.)
3. The least restrictive commitment alternative consistent with public safety and his own welfare is Timothy B. Moritz Mental Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
It is therefore ordered that [appellee] shall be forthwith delivered to the custody of Timothy B. Moritz Mental Hospital to be held pursuant to Ohio Revised Code sections 2945.40, 2945.401, and 2945.402 until further order of this court.

{¶10} At the conclusion of appellee's first six-month review, appellee's treatment team at TBM recommended transfer to Heartland Behavioral Healthcare, a civil mental hospital in Massillon, Ohio, but an independent forensic evaluator disagreed with the treatment team's recommendation. The parties stipulated to the report of the evaluator, Dr. Bob Stinson, and the trial court determined appellee continued to be a mentally ill person subject to hospitalization by court order and that TBM was the least-restrictive placement. Appellee therefore remained at TBM.

The Trial Court Denies Appellee's Application for Change in Commitment: March 29, 2010

{¶11} In November 2009, appellee's treatment team at TBM again recommended that appellee should be moved to HBH. The trial court[2] held an evidentiary hearing[3] on March 17, 2010.

{ΒΆ12} Appellant called three witnesses at the hearing: the captain of corrections at TBM, the chief of police at HBH, and a deputy from the Richland County Sheriff's Office ...


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