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State v. Roberson

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District

August 5, 2013

STATE OF OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee
JOHNNIE E. ROBERSON, Defendant-Appellant

Appeal from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2012CR1245.

For Defendant-Appellant MARY G. WARLOP Abney Law Office.

For Plaintiff-Appellee JOHN D. FERRERO, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, STARK COUNTY, OHIO BY: KATHLEEN O. TATARSKY Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Appellate Section.



{¶1} Defendant-appellant Johnnie E. Roberson appeals his conviction entered by the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, on one count of domestic violence, following a jury trial. Plaintiff-appellee is the state of Ohio.


{¶2} On September 17, 2012, the Stark County Grand Jury indicted Appellant on one count of domestic violence, in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a felony of the fourth degree. Appellant appeared before the trial court for arraignment on September 21, 2012, and entered a plea of not guilty to the charge. The matter proceeded to jury trial on October 30, 2012. As a preliminary matter, the State and defense counsel stipulated Appellant had previously been convicted of domestic violence on May 31, 2012, in Canton Municipal Case No.2012-CRB-2035.

{¶3} Melissa Wilson testified she lived with Appellant in an apartment on Cleveland Ave., Canton, Ohio, and the two had lived together for two years. Wilson admitted she loved Appellant "to death" and told "everyone he's my husband." On August 11, 2012, at approximately 5:30 pm, Wilson traveled by bus to the Save-A-Lot grocery store on Tuscarawas Street. According to Wilson, when she exited the bus, Appellant approached her, took her by the arm and said something about going home. Wilson denied Appellant being rough with her or grabbing at her backpack. Wilson stated the next thing she remembered was Officer Nixon running out of the store, three additional officers arriving, and Appellant being slammed to the ground. A female officer questioned Wilson about whether Appellant had punched her, but Wilson denied such happening. Wilson did not go to the hospital.

{¶4} Tosha Miner, a co-assistant manager at the Tuscarawas Street Save-A-Lot, testified she was driving to the store with her step-daughter on August 11, 2012. Miner was not working that day. While waiting to turn into the parking lot, Miner noticed a man, who was later identified as Appellant, and a woman, who was later identified as Melissa Wilson, at the bus stop, "going at it". Appellant was trying to take Wilson's purse away from her. Miner heard Appellant demand, "I want my keys. Give me my keys." Wilson was pulling away from Appellant. Appellant lifted his hand to strike Wilson on her face. Then, Officer Nixon ran out of the store.

{¶5} Miner acknowledged she did not see Appellant strike Wilson, but it appeared to her as if Appellant was about to do so. After parking her vehicle, Miner observed Wilson walking away. Miner told Wilson to stay in order to speak with police. Miner recalled Wilson did not seem concerned, but "just wanted to get away."

{¶6} Jim Nixon, a Canton City police officer, testified he was working his off duty job as a security officer at the Tuscarawas Street Save-A-Lot on August 11, 2012, when a customer entered the store and informed him there was a fight happening in the parking lot. Nixon looked out the store window and observed two individuals who appeared to be fighting. Nixon called dispatch as he ran out of the store.

{¶7} Nixon observed Wilson, whom he recognized from previous calls, holding onto a pink backpack purse and being thrown around by Appellant, with whom Nixon was also familiar. Wilson pulled her backpack toward her as Appellant pulled in the opposite direction, causing the two to twirl around in circles. At one point, Nixon saw Appellant place an upper cut jab to Wilson's abdomen area. Nixon commanded the two to stop. Appellant released Wilson and dropped to the ground.

{¶8} Canton City Police responded to the scene, and Appellant was taken into custody. Officers checked Wilson for injuries. She had a bandage on her arm from a previous injury as well as an injury to her wrist. Wilson had no redness or bruising on her abdomen. Wilson did not give a statement to police and refused medical treatment.

{¶9} At the close of the State's case, Appellant made an oral Crim. R. 29 motion for acquittal which the ...

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