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State v. Gallant

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

September 13, 2013

State of Ohio Appellee
v.
Jeremy P. Gallant Appellant

Trial Court No. 2011-CR-207

Kevin J. Baxter, Erie County Prosecuting Attorney, Mary Ann Barylski and Frank Romeo Zeleznikar, Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys, for appellee.

Loretta A. Riddle, for appellant.

DECISION AND JUDGMENT

YARBROUGH, J.

I. Introduction

(¶ 1} Appellant, Jeremy Gallant, appeals the judgment of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, convicting him of murder and tampering with evidence, and sentencing him to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 18 years.

A. Facts and Procedural Background

(¶ 2} On June 1, 2011, appellant attacked his wife Maria Vera Gallant. Approximately two weeks later, she passed away as a result of his actions. Appellant was initially indicted on one count of felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), one count of attempted aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01(A) and 2923.02(A), and one count of tampering with evidence in violation of R.C. 2921.12(A)(1). After the death of Mrs. Gallant, appellant was indicted on additional counts of aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01(A), and grand theft in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1).

(¶ 3} Appellant initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. After an independent evaluation, it was determined that appellant was competent and the plea was withdrawn. Appellant then entered into a plea agreement whereby he pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and the amended count of murder. The remaining counts were dismissed. Before accepting the plea, the trial court conducted a Crim.R. 11 colloquy, advising appellant of his rights and the effects of his decision.

(¶ 4} On May 8, 2012, appellant was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years on the count of murder. He received an additional three years on the count of tampering with evidence, to be served consecutively, for a total prison term of life with the possibility of parole after 18 years. Appellant requested that he receive credit for time served on a separate case, however, that request was denied. Shortly thereafter, this appeal ensued.

B. Assignments of Error

(¶ 5} Appellant has timely appealed, raising three assignments of error:

1. The trial court committed plain error when it accepted the defendant's plea, found defendant guilty and sentenced defendant to murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A) when defendant's undisputed recitation of the acts he committed and his means (sic) rea did not meet the elements of murder.
2. The trial court committed prejudicial and plain error by failing to einsure (sic) that appellant entered a plea "with understanding of ...

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