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State v. High

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Stark

March 31, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
CHRISTOPHER HIGH Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016CR0090

          For Plaintiff-Appellee JOHN D. FERRERO Prosecuting Attorney, By: KRISTINE W. BEARD Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Appellate Section.

          For Defendant-Appellant AARON KOVALCHIK.

          Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. John W. Wise, J.

          OPINION

          HOFFMAN, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Christopher High appeals his convictions and sentence entered by the Stark County Court of Common Pleas on one count of aggravated robbery, one count of aggravated burglary, and one count of felonious assault. Each count carried an attendant firearm specification. Plaintiff-appellee is the state of Ohio.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} On December 9, 2012, Rockford Estep was at his residence located at 127 12th Street N.W., Massillon, Ohio. Estep maintains he looked outside his window and noticed a dark colored van. He then observed Appellant at his window with a bag of marijuana. Estep recognized Appellant from previous marijuana purchases, and invited him into his house. Estep observed an all black Ford van outside, which van he had seen Appellant drive on other occasions.

         {¶3} Upon entering the home, Appellant requested Estep let his dogs outside. When Estep turned to do so, he saw two masked men running into his home.[1] Appellant then hit Estep with a firearm and demanded money. Estep estimated he was hit with the gun about ten times, and got "hit pretty good with it." Estep gave Appellant $700.00 he had in his pocket.

         {¶4} The other two men continued to rummage and steal items from Estep's home, during which time Appellant held a gun to the back of Estep's head. A home alarm was triggered. Appellant told Estep to turn off the alarm. While Estep went to turn off the alarm, he ran out the back door, jumping a fence, sustaining injury. While running, Estep shouted to "call 911."

         {¶5} A neighbor heard Estep shouting to call 911, and further observed the dark colored van. He wrote down the van's license plate number, and called 911.

         {¶6} Jim Nixon of the Canton Police Department responded to the call, observing the van pulling out of a drive-thru. He verified the license plate number of the van, and initiated a stop. The van did not pull over, and entered the jurisdiction of the North Canton Police Department.

         {¶7} Sergeant Ronald Mizner of the North Canton Police Department located the abandoned van, impounding it and then conducting an inventory search of the same. The owner of the van was identified as Pasha Smalls. Inside the van an invoice for repairs was found with both Smalls and Appellant's name as payors.

         {¶8} Sgt. Mizner then interviewed Estep at the hospital, where Estep related he knew Appellant as "Big C" or "Chris" as he purchased marijuana from him in the past. Estep described Appellant's physical appearance.

         {¶9} The Stark County Grand Jury indicted Appellant on one count of aggravated robbery, in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1) and/or (3), with a firearm specification, in violation of R.C. 2941.145; one count of aggravated burglary, in violation of R.C. 2911.11(A)(1) and/or (2), with a firearm specification, in violation of R.C. 2941.145; and one count of felonious assault, in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), with a firearm specification, in violation of R.C. 2941.145.

         {¶10} The matter proceeded to a jury trial on March 29, 2016. The jury found Appellant guilty on all counts. The trial court sentenced Appellant as follows:

         {¶11} Count One, Aggravated Robbery: Six years

         {¶12} Count Two, Aggravated Burglary: Six years, concurrent with the sentence imposed on Count One.

         {¶13} Count Three, Felonious Assault: Four years, consecutive to the sentence imposed on Counts One and Two.

         {¶14} Each gun specification carried a three year term of incarceration. The trial court merged the sentences on all three firearm specifications, imposing the three years consecutive to the sentences already imposed on the other three counts.

         {¶15} The trial court's total sentence imposed amounted to thirteen years.

         {¶16} Appellant appeals, assigning as error, I. APPELLANTS CONVICTIONS WERE AGAINST THE MANIFEST WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF THE EVIDENCE.

         II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY ORDERING APPELLANT TO SERVE CONSECUTIVE SENTNECES [SIC].

         III. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO MERGE APPELLANTS ...


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