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State v. Pope

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Sixth District

September 20, 2013

State of Ohio Appellee
Jason L. Pope Appellant

Trial Court No. CR0201102708

Julia R. Bates, Lucas County Prosecuting Attorney, and Andrew J. Lastra, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for appellee.

Edward J. Fischer, for appellant.



I. Introduction

(¶ 1} Appellant, Jason Pope, appeals from the judgment of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, following a jury trial, convicting him of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and felonious assault. For the following reasons, we affirm.

A. Facts and Procedural Background

(¶ 2} On October 24, 2011, the Lucas County Grand Jury indicted appellant on three felony counts stemming from his alleged conduct on October 12, 2011: aggravated burglary in violation of R.C. 2911.11(A)(2), a felony of the first degree, aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1), a felony of the first degree, and felonious assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), a felony of the second degree. All three counts included a firearm specification pursuant to R.C. 2941.145. Appellant pleaded not guilty to the charges, and the matter proceeded to a jury trial.

(¶ 3} At the trial, the following evidence was elicited. On the night of October 12, 2011, the victim, Elliott Rayford, was at home in his apartment with his infant daughter. His wife, Kamisha Reese, was visiting. Rayford testified that around 10:30 p.m. he heard a knock at the door. Upon inquiry, the person at the door identified himself as J.P. Rayford testified that he had known J.P. for the past several months, and had spent time with him on numerous occasions. Rayford further identified appellant as J.P. Rayford went out into the hall to talk with appellant, shutting the apartment door behind him. After a few seconds of conversation, a second, unidentified male appeared from around the corner and held Rayford at gunpoint. Rayford stated that the second male said, "[W]e need everything you got." At that point, appellant moved behind Rayford to prevent him from backing away from the gunman. Rayford testified that he emptied his pocket, which contained $100-$150.

(¶ 4} Thereafter, Rayford was forced back inside his apartment and into the kitchen at gunpoint. In the kitchen, Rayford completely emptied his pockets, dropping his cell phones, money, credit cards, and keys on the floor. Rayford testified that the assailants then stated, "[W]e know you got more than this. Where (sic) the stash at?" Rayford testified that when he explained that he did not have a stash, appellant requested the gun from the other man, and then hit Rayford in the jaw with it, exclaiming, "[Y]ou think we playing with you. We need everything you got."

(¶ 5} At that point, Rayford proceeded into his bedroom, with the assailants following behind him. Appellant still had the gun. In his bedroom, Rayford ran and jumped through a closed window, shattering the glass. Pictures of the broken window, with the blinds outside on the ground, were entered into evidence. Rayford then took off running down an alley. He testified that appellant and the other man came out of the front door, and he could hear them calling him names. Rayford also testified that he heard three or four gunshots. Ultimately, Rayford made it safely to a neighbor's porch and called 9-1-1.

(¶ 6} Kamisha Reese, Rayford's wife, also testified regarding that night's events. Reese testified that appellant knocked on the door around 10:30 p.m. Reese recognized that it was appellant by the sound of his voice. Reese stated that Rayford went outside to talk to appellant and after about one or two minutes she saw Rayford walk backwards into the apartment. At that time, Reese knew something was wrong. Reese testified that as they came in, appellant was holding Rayford by the shirt and had a gun pointed at his head. Reese reacted by trying to run to the bedroom to grab a baseball bat. She testified that the second, unidentified male also had a gun, and ordered her to come back.

(¶ 7} Reese then testified that appellant pushed Rayford into the kitchen and said that he is going to need everything in Rayford's pockets. She saw Rayford empty his pockets, and saw his keys, phone, and a couple hundred dollars fall to the floor. She stated that appellant then picked everything up and put it in his pocket. Reese testified that appellant then said, "I know you got more money than this." When Rayford replied that he did not, Reese observed appellant hit Rayford in the face with the gun.

(¶ 8} Reese testified that Rayford then led the assailants to the bedroom, and proceeded to jump out of the window. She stated that appellant and the other man ran through the apartment to chase after him. Shortly after they left through the ...

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