Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Belmont
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Belmont County, Ohio
Case No. 14 CR 259 Affirmed.
Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Daniel P. Fry Belmont County
Prosecutor Attorney J. Flanagan
Defendant-Appellant Attorney Zachary Zilai
Mary DeGenaro Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Carol Ann Robb
Defendant-Appellant, Michael C. Lamotte, appeals the trial
court's judgment contending it was error to admit a 911
recording into evidence during his jury trial. As
Lamotte's argument is meritless, the judgment of the
trial court is affirmed.
After receiving a phone call from her father Michael Lamotte,
Catherine Lamotte called 911 and stated that Michael had shot
her mother, Beverly. A Belmont County Sherriffs Deputy
responded to the call. He arrived to the residence and saw a
woman lying on the front porch wrapped in a comforter, stiff,
cold, and unconscious. The body was later identified as
The deputy encountered Lamotte who appeared to be in a
disoriented state and did not want to leave the house.
Lamotte was eventually tackled and taken into custody. After
an investigation it was determined that Beverly suffered
three gunshot wounds: one to the temple, one to the side of
the face, and one to the back right shoulder. Lamotte was
indicted for Aggravated Murder and a firearm specification.
During Lamotte's jury trial the State
called Brian Minder to testify as the custodian of the 911
records. Over the objection of defense counsel, the audio
recording of Catherine stating that her father had shot her
mother Beverly was played for the jury. The recording was
played again during the cross-examination of Catherine.
Lamotte was convicted by a jury of murder and a firearm
specification and sentenced to 18 years to life.
In his sole assignment of error, Lamotte asserts:
THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED ERROR IN ALLOWING THE ADMISSION OF
THE RECORDING OF THE 911 CALL MADE BY THE DAUGHTER OF THE
Lamotte contends that pursuant to Evid.R. 403(A) the
probative value of the recording was substantially outweighed
by the danger of unfair prejudice. The State counters that
the trial court has broad discretion and it did not err
because the 911 recording was substantially more probative
Evid.R. 403 provides for the exclusion of relevant evidence
due to prejudice, confusion, or undue delay. "The
admission of evidence lies within the broad discretion of a
trial court, and a reviewing court should not disturb
evidentiary decisions in the absence of an abuse of
discretion that has created material prejudice."
State v. Lett, 7th Dist. No 08 MA 194,
2009-Ohio-5268, ¶ 12 (internal citations omitted).
"An abuse of discretion means an error in judgment
involving a decision that is unreasonable based upon the
record; that the appellate court ...