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State v. Freeman

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

April 6, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
MAURICE FREEMAN DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-01-410924-ZA

          FOR APPELLANT Maurice Freeman, pro se

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Brett Hammond Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: Kilbane, P.J., E.T. Gallagher, J., and Jones, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          MARY EILEEN KILBANE, PRESIDING JUDGE

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, Maurice Freeman ("Freeman"), pro se, appeals from the denial of his motion to withdraw waiver of jury trial. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

         {¶2} The facts of this appeal were previously set forth by this court in Freeman's prior appeal, State v. Freeman, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 80720, 2002-Ohio-4572.

[I]n the early morning hours of July 25, 2001[, at] approximately 3:30 a.m., Freeman presented himself at the home of his seventeen-year old friend, Lekeia Staples. [Freeman asked to use her phone.]
* * *
Lekeia's grandmother still was entertaining a number of friends; therefore, Freeman's request to use Lekeia's telephone created no difficulties. Lekeia retrieved the cordless telephone while Freeman waited on the downstairs porch. She then stood by as Freeman made his call._
A few moments later, Lekeia saw an automobile traveling on East 115th Street. Just as the vehicle turned onto Beulah Avenue, Freeman called out loudly the name "Thurl." Lekeia knew the name; Thurlon Hill had been a friend of hers and Freeman's for over ten years. At the sound of Freeman's voice, the automobile halted its progress and reversed its direction. Freeman handed Lekeia the telephone and walked over to the automobile. The passenger door opened, thus permitting Freeman access to the rear passenger seat. Once Freeman was inside, the vehicle continued on its way. Lekeia returned to the second-floor unit._
The vehicle belonged to the victim, Alphonso Amos. With him, seated in the front passenger seat, was Thurlon Hill. Freeman was inside the vehicle only a short time before Hill heard a shot fired. At Freeman's trial, Hill testified he turned toward the sound to see Freeman "pulling the gun back." Amos was frantically "grabbing" at Freeman's hands in an attempt to snatch the weapon away. With the driver's attention thus diverted, Amos' vehicle struck a utility pole and stopped.
Amos at that time abandoned both his attempt to disarm Freeman and his automobile. He exited the vehicle and proceeded to run down East 115th Street. He was bleeding onto the pavement as he ran. Amos traveled only a short distance before collapsing onto the sidewalk._
The sound of the weapon's discharge drew the attention of people in the vicinity. John Bland, who had been in the process of leaving Lekeia's grandmother's residence, had reached the driveway when he saw Amos' vehicle strike the utility pole. Bland continued to watch; he saw the driver leap out, run a short distance, and then fall. After Amos dropped to the sidewalk, Bland saw the vehicle travel in reverse away from the pole, hesitate briefly, and slowly proceed on the street toward ...

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