Appeal from Seneca County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. 12-CR-0207
Lisa A. Miller for Appellant
Derek W. DeVine and Heather N. Jans for Appellee
(¶1} Defendant-appellant, Scott E. Nye ("Nye"), appeals the February 22, 2013 judgment of the Seneca County Court of Common Pleas journalizing his conviction by a jury for one count of trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present, in violation of R.C. 2911.12(B), (E), a felony of the fourth degree, and one count of felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), (D)(1)(a), a felony of the second degree, and sentencing him to serve three years in prison.
(¶2} On March 2, 2012, at approximately 10:13 p.m., Lisa Robinson ("Lisa") placed a 9-1-1 call requesting an ambulance come to her home at 205 Elm Avenue in Tiffin, Ohio. Lisa stated that "some random" man came to her door, attacked her fiancé, and "busted his head with a pipe." (State's Exhibit 1). She further elaborated that her fiancé was bleeding badly, with blood streaming down his face. Lisa explained that she did not know the man, but was able to give the dispatcher a physical description of him, including what he was wearing. She also informed the dispatcher that she obtained a description of the suspect's vehicle and the license plate number along with the weapon used to assault her fiancé.
(¶3} Officers Brent Riley and Jacob DeMonte responded to the call and identified the victim as Francis Shawn Brickner ("Shawn"). Officer Riley observed Shawn to be suffering from a head wound, which was producing a large amount of blood. Officer Riley took photographs of Shawn's injuries prior to Shawn being transported to the hospital. He also located the weapon used to assault Shawn and identified it as a torque wrench. The torque wrench was covered with blood and hair. Shawn gave a description of the assailant and his vehicle consistent with the one given by Lisa to the dispatcher. Based on this information, Officer Riley was able to identify the defendant, Nye, as a possible suspect. Shawn and his friend John Robertson ("John"), who was also at the house that night, both identified Nye in a photo line-up.
(¶4} Officers Riley and DeMonte learned from their investigation at the scene that a woman named Randi Roush ("Randi") was with Nye that night. Specifically, the officers were told that when Nye confronted Shawn at his back door, he demanded to speak to a woman named Randi or Mandy. Officer Riley, along with Officer Jacob DeMonte, located Randi and interviewed her. Randi took Officer Riley back to the scene and explained that Nye drove her to the location and gave her $450.00 to purchase some Marijuana. The officers learned that there are two residences on the property, the one where Lisa and Shawn lived, and a "rear" residence behind their house. Randi informed the officers that she was in the rear residence that night. Randi also explained that, due to complications with the drug transaction, she still had Nye's $450.00 in her possession, which the officers confiscated.
(¶5} Law enforcement was unable to immediately locate Nye. However, Officer Joseph O'Connor was able to locate Nye's vehicle and had it towed to the police department garage. Officer O'Connor observed blood stains on the driver seat and passenger seat. He also located a small tool box in the center passenger seat section of the vehicle. Photographs taken from inside the vehicle also showed blood on the roof and visors above the driver seat and passenger seat, blood on the steering wheel and steering column, blood on the floor throughout the front compartment, and blood on the radio and temperature controls.
(¶6} Several days after the incident, Nye turned himself into law enforcement. After further investigation, Nye was indicted on one count of trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present, and one count of felonious assault with a deadly weapon. Nye pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case proceeded to a jury trial, where several witnesses testified. The following is a summary of the testimony presented at trial, which further elaborates on the events that transpired that night.
(¶7} The victim, Shawn Brickner, testified for the prosecution. Specifically, he testified that on the night of March 2, 2012, he was playing pool in his basement with Lisa and John, when he heard a very loud pounding on the door. Shawn ran upstairs to see who was at the door and encountered Nye, a man whom he had never seen before. Shawn immediately noticed that Nye was in a panic. Shawn cracked open the storm door to talk to Nye and then Nye attempted to step into Shawn's home, yelling a woman's name and demanding his money.
(¶8} Shawn reacted by shoving Nye back out the door, but Nye was persistent in trying to enter the home. Shawn told Nye that he had no idea who this woman was and told him to leave, but Nye was adamant about getting into the house. Shawn stated that he then grabbed Nye by the arm and shirt collar, and escorted him to his vehicle, which was parked in the alley behind the property approximately fifteen yards from the home. Shawn claimed he did not punch or hit Nye as they walked to the back of the property. Shawn described Nye as continuously "rubbernecking" over his shoulder and trying to turn around to go back to the residence, convinced that the woman he was looking for and his money were in Shawn's home. Shawn explained that he felt it was necessary to escort Nye to his vehicle, because he believed that if he let Nye go, Nye would simply attempt to run back to his door.
(¶9} When they reached Nye's vehicle, Shawn opened the door and pushed Nye into the driver seat. At this point, Shawn released his grip on Nye believing that Nye would start his vehicle and leave the property. However, as Shawn began to close the door, Nye pushed the door open and lunged at him, still convinced that he needed to get inside Shawn's home. Shawn was able to push Nye back into the seat and tried to control his movements. Shawn stated that he then heard John's voice yelling "Shawn! Shawn! I'm here! Let him go." Shawn now believed that if he let go of Nye, Nye would leave the property. However, Shawn noticed Nye abruptly sit back into his seat and move his hand down to grab something shiny. Shawn then observed a long metal object emerge from the car, which Nye used to hit him on the bridge of the nose.
(¶10} Shawn explained that when he was first hit with the torque wrench he was standing outside Nye's vehicle, thinking that Nye was going to close the door and leave. Being afraid of getting hit again, Shawn attempted to grab the torque wrench from Nye while Nye repeatedly struck him in the head with the wrench. Much of the subsequent struggle involving the torque wrench occurred inside Nye's vehicle. Eventually, Shawn was able to get the wrench away from Nye and threw it into the yard. Nye then started his vehicle and screeched the tires as he fled ...