CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY AREA II COURT Case No. CRB12-0910
Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney, Lina N. Alkamhawi, for plaintiff-appellee
Scott Blauvelt, for defendant-appellant
(¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Andrea Bonner, appeals her conviction in Butler County Area II Court for aggravated menacing.
(¶ 2} On May 9, 2012, Christine Inman was standing in the parking lot of her apartment complex with her young daughter in a stroller, waiting for her son to get off the school bus. As Inman's son exited the school bus, Inman saw a car "flying around the corner" in an area of the complex with a posted speed limit of five m.p.h. When Inman told the driver to slow down, the driver yelled expletives at her and the children, and continued to speed through the apartment complex. Inman and her children walked toward the apartment complex office and then to a park near her apartment. Once Inman and her children were at the park, the same car approached and the driver, later identified as Bonner, got out of the car and confronted Inman.
(¶ 3} Bonner told Inman that she had been in a "hurry, " and once Inman reiterated the need to obey the five m.p.h. speed limit, Bonner told Inman that she was going to "beat [her] ass, " and called Inman a "flat boody [sic] white girl." At that point, Inman's son stated that "this lady is crazy, " referring to Bonner, and Bonner continued to yell at Inman and her children. Bonner then told Inman that she was going to "attack" Inman and the children with her car, and proceeded to get back into her car and drive it toward Inman and the children. Inman blocked her children from the approaching car, and Bonner swerved before hitting Inman and drove off.
(¶ 4} Inman called the police, and Officer Kyle Smith of the West Chester Police Department came to the apartment complex to investigate the incident. Officer Smith also contacted Bonner, who denied that she had driven the car toward Inman and her children. Officer Smith filed a complaint in the Butler County Area II Court alleging that Bonner committed aggravated menacing, and Bonner pled not guilty to the charge. A bench trial occurred, during which Inman, Officer Smith, and Bonner testified. The trial court found Bonner guilty, and sentenced her to 180 days in jail and a fine, both of which were suspended. The trial court placed Bonner on two years community control, and ordered her to have no contact with Inman, and also ordered that Bonner complete an anger management course. Bonner now appeals her conviction and sentence, raising three assignments of error. For ease of discussion, we will address the assignments of error out of order.
(¶ 5} Assignment of Error No. 3:
(¶ 6} THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT A CONVICTION FOR AGGRAVATED MENACING.
(¶ 7} Bonner argues in her third assignment of error that her conviction for aggravated menacing is not supported by sufficient evidence.
(¶ 8} When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence underlying a criminal conviction, an appellate court examines the evidence in order to determine whether such evidence, if believed, would support a conviction. State v. Wilson, 12th Dist. Warren No. CA2006-01-007, 2007-Ohio-2298. "The relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1991), paragraph two of the syllabus, superseded on other grounds. The credibility of witnesses is primarily a determination for the trier of fact, as they are in the best position to observe the witnesses' demeanor, gestures and voice inflections. State v. Benson, 12th Dist. Butler No. CA2009-02-061, 2009-Ohio-6741.
(¶ 9} Bonner was convicted of aggravated menacing in violation of R.C. 2903.21(A), which provides, "no person shall knowingly cause another to believe that the offender will cause serious physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person's unborn, or a member of the other person's immediate family." According to R.C. 2901.22(B), "a person acts knowingly, regardless of his purpose, when he is aware that his conduct will probably cause a certain result or will probably be of a certain ...