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State v. Chandler

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District

July 3, 2013


Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-559470


ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Timothy J. McGinty Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Sherrie S. Royster Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.

BEFORE: Keough, J., S. Gallagher, P.J., and E.T. Gallagher, J.



{¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Willie D. Chandler, appeals from the trial court's judgment, rendered after a jury trial, finding him guilty of carrying a concealed weapon and having a weapon while under a disability, and sentencing him to 21 months incarceration. Finding no merit to the appeal, we affirm.

I. Background

{¶ 2} The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted Chandler on one count of carrying a concealed weapon in violation of R.C. 2923.12(A)(2) (Count 1) and one count of having a weapon under a disability in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(2) (Count 2). Chandler pleaded not guilty and the matter proceeded to trial. Count 1 was tried to a jury; Count 2 was tried to the bench.

{¶ 3} The evidence at trial demonstrated that at approximately 2:00 a.m. on February 8, 2012, Beachwood police responded to the area of Chagrin Boulevard after a report of a speeding car and the sound of a crash. Sergeant John Atterbury was the first to arrive on the scene; patrol officer Amy Dansizen arrived seconds later.

{¶ 4} Officer Dansizen testified that when she arrived on the scene, she observed that a Ford Taurus and an Audi had been involved in an accident. She saw Chandler standing outside the Taurus by the front passenger side door. He appeared to be highly intoxicated, was having trouble standing, and was slurring his words as he spoke to her. She also noticed that there was blood and an apparent injury on Chandler's right hand. Chandler told Dansizen that he had been a passenger in the Ford but did not know where the driver, his friend Torriano Brown, was. As Dansizen was talking to Chandler, she saw a naked man crossing the street a short distance away from the accident scene. She told Atterbury, who then began pursuing the male.

{¶ 5} Atterbury testified that he followed a path of clothes leading away from the accident site to Brown, who was naked except for his socks. Atterbury said that Brown was acting erratically and his speech was incoherent — behavior consistent with someone on PCP. Atterbury took Brown into custody and summoned an ambulance for him. When Dansizen spoke with Brown at the hospital a short time later, he told her that he had smoked wet (a marijuana cigarette dipped in PCP).

{¶ 6} Atterbury returned to the crash scene and after Chandler was transported to the hospital, conducted an inventory search of the Ford Taurus, during which he found a loaded .357 magnum handgun underneath the front passenger seat. Atterbury testified that the gun was not immediately visible when he looked in the car and that he only discovered the gun when he put his head down and looked under the seat. Atterbury saw a dried substance that he believed to be blood on the front right side of the gun cylinder.

{¶ 7} Lieutenant Keith Winebrenner, a state certified firearms instructor, testified that he test-fired the gun and found it to be operable. Winebrenner testified further that if skin got caught in the gap between the cylinder on the gun and the firearm frame, the skin would be injured as the cylinder rotated when the gun was shot. He also testified, however, that the gap was big enough only for a child's finger and that in 18 years as a firearms instructor, he had never heard of anyone's skin getting caught in the gap.

{ΒΆ 8} Detective Allan Baumgartner testified that he interviewed Chandler at the Beachwood jail approximately eight hours after the accident. Chandler told Baumgartner that he and Brown had been at several bars earlier in the evening, but did not answer when Baumgartner asked him what bars they had been to. Baumgartner then asked Chandler why Brown had been walking around outside naked at two o'clock in the morning but Chandler did not answer the question. Baumgartner testified that he then told Chandler that the police had found a gun with blood on it under the front passenger seat of Brown's car, where Chandler had been sitting. He said he ...

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