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State v. Fields

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District

July 12, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee
SAMUEL J. FIELDS, Defendant-Appellant

(Criminal appeal from Common Pleas Court) T.C. No. 12CR936.

APRIL F. CAMPBELL, Atty. Reg. No. 0089541, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee.

NICHOLAS G. GOUNARIS, Atty. Reg. No. 0064527, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant.



{¶ 1} This matter is before the Court on the Notice of Appeal of Samuel J. Fields, filed November 9, 2012. Fields appeals from his judgment entry of conviction, following a jury trial, on one count of felonious assault (serious physical harm), in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), a felony of the second degree. The jury also found Fields not guilty of the offense of aggravated robbery, in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(3). After noting that the instant offense is Fields' 13th felony conviction as an adult, the court sentenced him to a mandatory term of four years imprisonment. Fields asserts that there was insufficient evidence of serious physical harm to support the jury's guilty verdict. We hereby affirm the judgment of the trial court.

{¶ 2} At trial, Stephanie Sutherland testified that Fields used to be her drug dealer, and that on March 2, 2012, she met Fields at RiverScape MetroPark for the purpose of obtaining a heroin "tester" from him, with the understanding that she would purchase $20.00 worth of the drug if she approved of the "tester." Sutherland stated that a "tester" is a small amount of heroin "that a drug dealer gives you to pull your business in." She stated that she "hadn't got anything from him for about two weeks, and that was his way of kind of reeling me back in"

{¶ 3} Sutherland stated that when she met Fields, his girlfriend, Nichole Moyer, was with him. Sutherland stated that she took the "tester" into the concession stand bathroom, and that she remained in the bathroom for a long time because "all my veins were shot, so it took a long time to hit myself" She stated that Moyer eventually entered the bathroom to check on her, and that the two women left the bathroom together.

{¶ 4} Sutherland testified that after she emerged from the bathroom, she told Fields that she did not like the heroin, and that she was not going to purchase any from him. Sutherland stated that Fields then demanded $10.00 from her, and when she refused to pay him, he "reached in my pockets and took everything out. He took my cigarettes, my lighter, I had like $3 in there, the needle, the spoon, and my phone." Sutherland stated that she tried to retrieve her phone from Fields, and he "hit me once in the face and I went straight down. And then I went to grab a hold of his pocket * * * the phone was in his pocket. I went to grab for where my phone was, and he just kept hitting me. And he hit me anywhere from 20 - - I know it was at least 20 times. 20 to 24, 25 times. And I held on to his pocket the whole time." Sutherland further testified, "I don't know if I was wedged between [a] park bench and the - - I didn't get wedged until every time he hit me, my body kept going back and back and back. I don't know, he must have kicked me at some point because I ended up with a broke rib, and * * * my eyes ended up swelling shut." Sutherland stated that she was wedged "somewhere between a park bench and a trash can."

{¶ 5} Sutherland stated that Fields stopped hitting her when "he saw a woman calling the cops like, maybe 30 feet away from us." She stated that she retrieved her phone from Fields' pocket and tossed it on the ground, and that she heard the woman on the phone calling to her to "'come here.'" Sutherland stated that she approached the woman while Fields and Moyer walked away. Sutherland stated that the woman told her that she had the police on the phone, and Sutherland testified, "I have a little history with cops. * * * I took off running." Sutherland stated that she has felony convictions for theft, possession, assault on a police officer, and "[h]arassment by an [i]nmate with [b]odily [f]luids."

{¶ 6} Sutherland stated that she ran to her home, about a quarter mile away. She testified, "I know it sounds weird that it would instantaneously do this, but like my equilibrium was off. I bumped into like three trash cans on the way. * * * I got home, and as I sat there longer and longer, the swelling got worse * * * ." She stated that she called her best friend, who later took her to the Huber Health Center. Sutherland stated that she had pain in her face, tail bone, and ribs. Sutherland stated that her eyes were black for five or six weeks, and that on her forehead she "had knots for like six or eight weeks." She stated that the pain in her tail bone was "just from being scooted against concrete, I guess." Sutherland testified that two of her ribs were broken, and that the pain in her ribs lasted three months, "at least." Sutherland stated that she was prescribed Hydrocodone for pain, and that she "sold them to get - - heroine's (sic) the best pain killer you can get." She identified photographs depicting her injuries. Sutherland also testified that she has been sober for five months.

{¶ 7} On cross-examination, Sutherland admitted that she never intended to pay Fields for any heroin, and that "[i]t was a scam I was running on him that day." She denied that she and Fields were ever in a romantic relationship. The following exchange occurred on cross-examination:

Q. And I think you testified on direct examination, you think he might have kicked you.
A. I think so. I don't know how my ribs got broke. I don't know if he kicked me or if when he was punching me, because of how my ...

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