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State v. Purdy

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District

September 23, 2013

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
WILLIAM H. PURDY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

Appeal from Allen County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR2012 0249

Michael J. Short for Appellant.

Terri L. Kohlrieser for Appellee.

OPINION

PRESTON, P.J.

(¶1} Defendant-appellant, William H. Purdy, appeals the Allen County Court of Common Pleas' judgment entry of conviction. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of conviction; however, we remand for resentencing pursuant to R.C. 2929.191 for the trial court to impose a five-year mandatory term of post-release control ("PRC") and to properly incorporate notice of the same in its judgment entry of sentence.

(¶2} On July 12, 2012, the Allen County Grand Jury indicted Purdy on Counts One through Six of rape, violations of R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b) and first degree felonies, with specifications that the victim was under the age of thirteen; and, Counts Seven and Eight of gross sexual imposition, violations of R.C. 2907.05(A)(4) and third degree felonies. (Doc. No. 1).[1]

(¶3} On July 23, 2012, Purdy entered pleas of not guilty at arraignment. (See Doc. No. 3).

(¶4} On October 12, 2012, Purdy filed a written waiver of his right to a jury trial. (Doc. No. 38).

(¶5} On October 22, 2012, the matter proceeded to a bench trial. (Doc. No. 45). Prior to the presentation of its case-in-chief, the State moved to dismiss Counts Seven and Eight of the indictment, which was granted. (Id.). Thereafter, the trial court found Purdy guilty on Counts One, Two, Three, and Four of Rape, and Counts Five and Six of Complicity to Rape, with all counts carrying specifications that the victim was under thirteen years old. (Id.); (Doc. No. 48).

(¶6} On November 2, 2012, the trial court filed its judgment entry of conviction. (Doc. No. 48).

(¶7} On November 14, 2012, the trial court sentenced Purdy to mandatory life imprisonment with parole eligibility after ten years on each of Counts One through Six. (Doc. No. 51); (Nov. 14, 2012 Tr. at 11-13). The trial court ordered that the terms imposed in Counts One and Two run concurrently to each other; the terms imposed in Counts Three and Four run concurrently to each other; and, the terms imposed in Counts Five and Six run concurrently to each other. (Id.); (Id.). However, the trial court further ordered that the term imposed on Counts One and Two run consecutive to the term imposed on Counts Three and Four; and, the terms imposed in Counts Five and Six run consecutive to the terms imposed in Counts One, Two, Three, and Four for an aggregate sentence of three terms of life imprisonment with parole eligibility after 30 years. (Id.); (Id.).

(¶8} On November 19, 2012, the trial court filed its judgment entry of sentence. (Doc. No. 51).

(¶9} On December 4, 2012, Purdy filed a notice of appeal. (Doc. No. 55). Purdy raises two assignments of error, which we elect to address together.

Assignment of Error No. I

The conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence.

Assignment of Error No. II

There was insufficient evidence to sustain the conviction.

(¶10} In his first assignment of error, Purdy argues that his conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence because the witnesses against him were not credible. In particular, Purdy argues that the victim made the allegations against him after she admitted to making up similar allegations against her stepfather as a way to garner sympathy and get out of trouble for violating curfew. Purdy argues that the testimony of his codefendant, Trisha Steele, is also not credible because she did not disclose Purdy's involvement until she was being investigated herself for sexual conduct with the victim, and Steele was given a significantly reduced sentence for her cooperation.

(¶11} In his second assignment of error, Purdy argues that, absent the non-credible testimony of the victim and his codefendant, his convictions were not supported by sufficient evidence.[2]

(¶12} In determining whether a conviction is against the manifest weight of the evidence, a reviewing court must examine the entire record, "'[weigh] the evidence and all reasonable inferences, consider the credibility of witnesses and [determine] whether in resolving conflicts in the evidence, the [trier of fact] clearly lost its way and created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that the conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered.'" State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 387 (1997), quoting State v. Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175 (1st Dist.1983). A reviewing court must, however, allow the trier of fact appropriate discretion on matters relating to the weight of the evidence and the credibility of the witnesses. State v. DeHass, 10 Ohio St.2d 230, 231 (1967).

(¶13} "An appellate court's function when reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction is to examine the evidence admitted at trial to determine whether such evidence, if believed, would convince the average mind of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1981), paragraph two of the syllabus, superseded by state constitutional amendment on other grounds in State v. Smith, 80 Ohio St.3d 89 (1997). Accordingly, "[t]he relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the ...


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