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State v. Miller

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District

July 22, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ANDREW P. MILLER, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

Appeal from Fostoria Municipal Court Trial Court No. CRB 1200421 Judgment

APPEARANCES:

Kurt A. Dauterman for Appellant

Timothy J. Hoover for Appellee

OPINION

ROGERS, J.

{¶1} Defendant-Appellant, Andrew Miller, appeals the Fostoria Municipal Court's judgment finding him guilty of domestic violence. On appeal, Miller contends that the trial court erred by: (1) admitting inadmissible hearsay testimony; (2) denying his motion for acquittal; and, (3) considering the allegations contained in the complaint when determining his guilt. Miller also contends that the verdict was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Based on the following, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

{¶2} In October 2012, Miller was charged via complaint with one count of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a misdemeanor of the first degree. According to the complaint, on or about October 15, 2012, Miller allegedly threw two full soup cans at his live-in girlfriend, Amber Bowers, threw her over an upstairs railing, and threatened to kill her.

{¶3} In November 2012, the matter proceeded to a bench trial, during which the following relevant evidence was adduced.

{¶4} Bowers was the first witness called to the stand. Bowers testified that she and Miller have been in a relationship for nine years and reside together at Miller's residence in Fostoria, Ohio.

{¶5} With respect to the events giving rise to the complaint, Bowers testified that she and Miller spent the night of October 14, 2012, out with several friends at a local bar. Before returning to their residence, Bowers and Miller visited their next-door neighbor, Angela Bernal, at her residence. After visiting Bernal, Bowers and Miller returned to Miller's residence.

{¶6} Bowers proceeded to offer the following testimony regarding the events that occurred after she and Miller returned to Miller's residence.

A: Uhm, we entered the house. And from what I remember he was a little - - got a little angry and he went to grab me so I ran away and I ran up the stairs. Trial Tr., p. 9.

After Bowers ran upstairs she testified that "[Miller] threw stuff after [she] left the room." Id. at p. 13. According to Bower's testimony, she was not immediately aware of what Miller had thrown after she ran upstairs. Instead, as the following testimony reveals, Bower's did not determine what Miller had thrown until the police arrived on scene.

Q: Did you see any soup cans on the floor near the area where you were afterwards?
A: After the officers had arrived, yes.
Q: Okay. Could you describe those soup cans?
A: They were Campbell's Chunky soup that I had bought at the store. They were on the counter from when we had gotten home that evening.
Q: And how many cans were there?
A: There was [sic] two.
Q: Were they banged up?
A: Yes.
Q: Do you know whether they - - Did they hit you?
A: No.
Q: What did they hit, if anything?
A: One hit the wall and one hit the stairs. Id. at p. 14.

After Miller had thrown the soup cans, Bowers testified that the following events occurred:

A: * * * He came after me. I - - I hid under the bed.
** *
Q: * * * All right [sic]. How did that end being under the bed?
A: Uhm, he grabbed me by my feet.
** *
Q: * * * [D]o you recall telling the police what he was threatening you with?
A: Yes.
Q: What?
A: He said he was gonna kill me.
Q: All right [sic]. So he entered the room and you said he dragged you out by your feet?
A: Yes.
Q: All right. Then, what happened * * *[?]
A: I got away from him and ran down, went to go run down the stairs.
Q: Did you succeed in making it all the way down the steps?
A: Yes.
Q: How did you - - what happened?
A: Uhm, he - - he ran - - he ran after me.
Q: Okay. Now, this is on the way down he ran after you. Did he grab you?
A: Yes.
Q: All right [sic]. Where did he grab you?
A: He helped me fall down the steps.
Q: He helped you fall down ...

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