Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
AFFIRMED AND REMANDED
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT James R. Willis
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Nathalie E. Naso Assistant County
BEFORE: Boyle, J., Kilbane, P.J., and McCormack, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, J.
Defendant-appellant, Terrell Eddy, appeals his convictions.
He raises four assignments of error for our review:
1. The court erred when it denied the motions for judgment of
acquittal made at the end of the state's case, which were
renewed at the close of all evidence.
2. The court erred when it admitted as substantive proof
evidence that showed (despite the lack of any relevance),
that inside the vehicle Eddy was apprehended in and arrested
(after being therein for a very short while) the police found
a weapon and a use quantity of marijuana.
3. Given the criminal charges made herein were based on
conduct that occurred elsewhere and related to the use of a
gun and narcotics, the admission of a different gun and a use
quantity of drugs, found in the car, in which the accused was
a mere passenger, and which added nothing of evidentiary
worth in relation to his various charges cannot possibly be
4. The court erred when it denied appellant's motion for
Finding no merit to his arguments on appeal, we affirm. We
remand, however, for nunc pro tunc correction of the
sentencing entry as further explained at the end of this
Procedural History and Factual Background
In January 2016, Eddy was indicted on seven counts:
second-degree felonious assault in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(2); third-degree discharge of a firearm on or near
prohibited places in violation of R.C. 2923.162(A)(3);
fourth-degree trafficking (between five and ten grams of
cocaine) in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2); fifth-degree
trafficking (less than 200 grams of marijuana) in violation
of R.C. 2925.03(A)(2); fourth-degree drug possession (between
five and ten grams of cocaine) in violation of R.C.
2925.11(A); minor misdemeanor drug possession (less than 100
grams of marijuana); and possessing criminal tools in
violation of R.C. 2923.24(A). The charges carried several
specifications attached to them, including one- and
three-year firearm specifications, and various forfeiture of
property specifications (weapons and drug-related items).
Eddy pleaded not guilty to all charges, and the case
proceeded to a jury trial where the following evidence was
On July 31, 2015, Cleveland police responded to a call around
5:00 p.m. of shots being fired at an apartment complex on
Livingston Road. Officer Chris Lane arrived on the scene
first. He explained that when he pulled into the parking lot
of the apartment complex, there was a green Ford Explorer
parked in a parking space. The Explorer was running, and its
driver's-side door was open, but no one was in it.
Officer Lane and his partner "processed the scene."
Officer Lane found a couple of bullet holes in the green
Explorer, including one on the driver's side of the
vehicle, one on the passenger door, and one on the back
window. The vehicle also had a flat tire. Officer Lane found
a bag of marijuana on the passenger seat, a bag of cocaine in
the center console cup holder, and a scale in the center
console. He also found Eddy's identification in the
vehicle and several shell casings on the ground near the
driver's side of the car.
Officer Lane said that a female approached him and told him
what she had seen. He broadcasted a description of the males
that the woman gave to him.
Sergeant Patrick Petranek and Detective Robert McKay
testified that they also responded to a call of shots being
fired on Livingston Road. They explained that when they
arrived at the apartment complex, a zone police car was
already pulling into the parking lot so they searched the
surrounding areas. The radio call had said that a male with
"dreads" had fled south, possibly on a bicycle and
possibly with a gun; another male in a white T-shirt had fled
north, through the parking lot. While they were patrolling
the area, a female flagged them down and told them that a
male, who was wearing a white T-shirt and carrying a gun in
hand, had just "jumped" into a gold SUV. The female
pointed to where the gold SUV was.
Sergeant Petranek and Detective McKay followed the gold SUV
for several minutes, until other police vehicles arrived to
assist. Sergeant Petranek approached the front passenger door
where Eddy was seated. Eddy immediately told Sergeant
Petranek, "don't shoot me, there's a gun in my
lap." Sergeant Petranek retrieved the gun, a 9 mm
handgun, and secured it. He then took Eddy out of the vehicle
and handcuffed him.
Detective McKay said that he approached the driver's side
of the gold SUV. He could smell a strong odor of marijuana
emanating from the vehicle. Detective McKay removed the
driver, Deandre Johnson, from the car and placed him in
Police found a second gun in a hidden compartment under the
front passenger seat of the gold SUV. Although Eddy initially
tried to claim the second gun as his to protect his friend,
the gun actually belonged to Johnson. Police also found a box
of sandwich "baggies" in the back seat of the gold
SUV, marijuana in the center console, and a digital scale
below the marijuana.
Detective McKay, who was the primary investigating officer,
interviewed Eddy when he was removed from the gold SUV. Eddy
informed Detective McKay that he had a license to carry a
concealed weapon. Eddy said that he went to the apartment
complex on Livingston Road to purchase marijuana from a man
who ended up robbing him. Eddy further told Detective McKay
that when the man started shooting, Eddy fled and left his
vehicle running in the parking lot.
Police took Eddy back to the apartment complex. Detective
McKay stated that at this point, Eddy was claiming that he
was a victim and they were treating him as such. Detective
McKay spoke to the officers who were already at the scene, as
well as the apartment complex security guard and numerous
witnesses. Detective McKay said that after speaking with the
officers who were on the scene, he "got a different
story" than Eddy had originally told him. At that point,
Eddy became a suspect, so Detective McKay read Eddy his
rights and interviewed him a second time.
Eddy told Detective McKay that he was going to purchase
marijuana from an unknown male who Eddy found through a
friend. Eddy's friend gave the "seller"
Eddy's number. The "seller" called Eddy to
arrange the deal at the apartment complex using a private
number. Eddy said that the "seller" had told him to
park in a certain place, but Eddy parked in another spot and
backed in so that he could be "on full alert."
Eddy told Detective McKay that when the "seller"
got into Eddy's vehicle, Eddy began to get his money out
and "that is when [the 'seller'] proceeded to
pull a gun on [Eddy]." Eddy responded by reaching for
his own gun. At that point, the "seller" got out of
Eddy's vehicle. When the "seller" began running
away from Eddy's vehicle, the "seller" fired
his gun at Eddy. Eddy shot back. Eddy said that he was scared
because he was not sure if the "seller" had other
people with him. Eddy left everything and ran.
Eddy explained to Detective McKay that in the commotion the
"seller" had left the other drugs and the digital
scale in Eddy's vehicle. Eddy said that the
"seller" took his money; Eddy claimed that he had
$30 or $40 in his visor.
Detective McKay testified that when he interviewed Eddy a
second and third time, Eddy kept changing his story. For
example, Eddy later told Detective McKay that he had deleted
the "seller's" phone number from his phone
rather than that the "seller" had contacted him on
a private number.
After reviewing the security cameras of the parking lot,
Detective McKay found a spent shell casing from a .380
caliber handgun in an area of the parking lot where they saw
the "seller" drop something as he was running away
from Eddy's vehicle. Police never found the .380 firearm
that was used, nor did they ever learn who the unknown male,
the "seller" according to Eddy, was.
Detective McKay explained that the security guard at the
apartment complex was not able to give police a hard copy of
the security footage of the parking lot. So the recording
that was played in court was footage from Detective
McKay's body camera, which recorded the footage as
Detective McKay watched it.
As the state played the recording in court, it would stop and
ask Detective McKay to explain what was happening on the
In the security footage, Eddy's Ford Explorer can be seen
backing into a parking space at the apartment complex. Soon
after Eddy came to a stop, a man with long hair, wearing
jeans and a white T-shirt, appears in the video, walking
toward the passenger side of Eddy's car. It does not
appear that the man has anything in his hands. Right before
the man opens the front passenger door, he appears to pull up
his jeans using both hands. Approximately one minute and 40
seconds later (according to the time on the video), the man
with long hair got out of Eddy's vehicle. Detective McKay
testified that when the man got out of Eddy's car, the
video shows that he had a small white bag in his hand. As the
man walked away from Eddy's vehicle, he looked back
toward the vehicle several times.
Approximately eight to ten seconds after the unknown man got
out of Eddy's vehicle, Eddy got out of his car and
appears to shoot a gun over the top of his car in the
direction of where the man had just walked (although the man
can no longer be seen in the footage). Eddy then ducked down,
looked up, and appears to fire a gun a second time. Although
it appears that Eddy shot his gun two times (because he held
his arm and hand in that position), it is not clear from the
video how many shots Eddy fired because there is no sound. At
that point, Eddy ran from his vehicle and out of view of the
Detective McKay then viewed a video recording of another
angle of the parking lot, which showed where the man with the
long hair ran to when he could no longer be seen in the
previous recording. Detective McKay stated that when the man
appears, he and Eddy are shooting back and forth. It does
appear as if the man is running backwards, facing Eddy's
vehicle, and running sideways as if he is trying to get away
from something. It also appears that right before the man
takes off running across the parking lot, he briefly put his
arm up, as if he was shooting a gun. When the man was running
across the parking lot, he tripped and almost fell down.
Detective McKay testified that spot was where the man dropped
the small plastic bag of marijuana. Detective McKay further
stated that this was the same bag of marijuana that was on
Eddy's seat when police arrived because a witness at the
scene picked it up and placed it on Eddy's passenger
Detective McKay stated that Eddy did not have any money on
him when he was arrested, nor was there any money found in
the green Explorer.
At the close of the state's case, Eddy moved for a
Crim.R. 29 acquittal. The trial court granted it with respect
to discharging a firearm on or near prohibited places. The
trial court denied it with respect to the remaining charges.
Eddy testified that he pulled into a gas station and saw his
friend JJ. He asked JJ if he had any marijuana that he could
purchase. JJ did not have any, but said that he had a friend
who could sell Eddy some. JJ gave Eddy's number to the
"seller." Approximately 15 minutes later, the
"seller" called Eddy on a private number. The
"seller" told Eddy to meet him at the apartment
complex on Livingston Road. Eddy said that he did not park
where the "seller" told him to park because he
would have been closed in and not able to easily escape,
which made him suspicious because he had never met the
"seller" before that day. Eddy parked somewhere
else, and backed into the spot so that he could see better.
Eddy said that the "seller" got in his vehicle and
said, "what's up? Your name Terrell?" The
"seller" said, "I'm JJ's friend."
Eddy asked him for the marijuana. Eddy told the
"seller" that he was wanted the marijuana because
he was going to "smoke with some females." The
"seller" showed Eddy the marijuana. The
"seller" also showed Eddy some cocaine, and asked
Eddy if the females "do coke?" Eddy replied that he
just wanted to buy the marijuana. Eddy pulled out his wallet,
which he said had "maybe close to $400" in it. Eddy
opened his wallet and began sorting through it, and then the
unknown male "pulled a gun" on Eddy and said,
"give me everything." The "seller" took
Eddy's money and got out of the car.
Eddy testified that he grabbed his gun, opened his car door,
and yelled for the "seller" to give him his money
back. Eddy said that he told the "seller, "
"Hey mother f***cker, give me my money back. I have my
gun. I have the drop on you. Give me my money back." At
that point, the "seller" turned around and
"opened fire at the vehicle." Eddy testified that
he shot back at the "seller, " firing five or six
shots. After he and the "seller" "exchanged
fire, " Eddy grabbed his cell phone and ran.
Eddy said that he called his friend, Deandre Johnson, and
told him that he had just been robbed. He asked Johnson to
pick him up because Johnson lived near that area. He was
going to have Johnson take him home, but that is when the
police stopped them.
Eddy said that he lied to police that the gun in
Johnson's vehicle was his because he did not want to get
his friend in trouble because Johnson had tried to help him.
Eddy further stated that the scale, marijuana, and cocaine
found in his Explorer was placed there by the
Eddy admitted that when he got out of his vehicle and yelled
at the "seller" in the parking lot, the seller had
not yet shot at him. He agreed that his tire was not flat at
that point and that he could have just driven away from the
scene. Eddy also admitted that when he told the
"seller" that he "had a drop on him, "
that he meant "I have the upper hand." He further
explained that what he meant by that phrase, "I have a
drop on you, " was that he was warning the
"seller" that he had a gun and was in the better
At the close of all of the evidence, the jury found Eddy
guilty of all of the charges. Before sentencing Eddy, the
trial court merged the one- and three-year firearm
specifications, and merged Counts 3 and 4 (trafficking and
possession of cocaine), and Counts 5 and 6 (trafficking and
possession of marijuana). The state elected to proceed on the
trafficking counts. The trial court sentenced Eddy to three
years for the firearm specification and ordered it to be
served prior to and consecutive to two years on the base
charge of felonious assault, for a total of five years in
prison. The trial court also sentenced Eddy to one year for
trafficking cocaine, one year for trafficking marijuana, and
one year for possessing criminal tools, and ordered that they
all be served concurrent to each other and to the term
imposed for felonious assault. The trial ...