FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 14CR089904
APPEARANCES: DAVID L. DOUGHTEN, Attorney at Law, for
P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and ELIZABETH LINDBERG,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
A. SCHAFER Presiding Judge.
Defendant-Appellant, Markus Martin appeals his convictions in
the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. For the reasons that
follow, we affirm.
This matter arises from the shooting death of Davion Strupe.
A group of about fifteen people believed that Mr. Strupe had
broken into the home of Martin's brother. When the group
located Mr. Strupe in a residence, a number of them pulled
him out of the house and began to beat him. The group
included Martin and Tristen Belfiore. As Mr. Strupe was
escaping from the group, Belfiore shot him. The shooting
resulted in Mr. Strupe's death. Multiple witnesses stated
they heard Martin giving orders during the beating and that
he yelled to Belfiore to shoot Mr. Strupe as he was escaping
from the group.
The Lorain County Grand Jury subsequently indicted Martin on
the following eleven counts: (I) aggravated murder in
violation of R.C. 2903.01(B), a special felony, with two gun
specifications; (II) murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A),
a special felony, with two gun specifications; (III) murder
in violation of R.C. 2903.02(B), a special felony, with two
gun specifications; (IV) kidnapping in violation of R.C.
2905.01(A)(3), a felony of the first degree; (V) kidnapping
in violation of R.C. 2905.01(B)(1), a felony of the first
degree; (VI) aggravated burglary in violation of R.C.
2911.11(A)(1), a felony of the first degree; (VII) felonious
assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1), a felony of the
second degree; (VIII) felonious assault, in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(2), a felony of the second degree, with two gun
specifications; (IX) felonious assault in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(2), a felony of the second degree; (X) burglary in
violation of R.C. 2911.12(A)(1), a felony of the second
degree; (XI) aggravated riot in violation of R.C.
2917.02(A)(2), a felony of the fourth degree.
Martin pleaded not guilty and the matter proceeded through
the pretrial process. Following a jury trial, the State
dismissed the one-year firearm specification on counts one,
two, three, and eight. Subsequently, a jury found Martin not
guilty of aggravated murder, but guilty of the remaining
counts in the indictment. However, the jury found Martin not
guilty of the attendant three-year firearm specifications on
counts one, two, three, and eight. Additionally, the jury
made the special findings with regard to the charge of murder
in count three that Martin committed the murder of Mr. Strupe
as a proximate result of committing or attempting to commit
(1) kidnapping as defined in counts four and five; (2)
aggravated burglary as defined in count six; and (3) burglary
as defined in count ten. The trial court sentenced Martin
according to law.
Martin filed this timely appeal, raising two assignments of
error for our review.
of Error I
counsel's failure to object, move to strike, or request a
limiting instruction in response to a witness's
unsolicited statement that the appellant had
been in prison and the failure to request a Daubert hearing
on the accuracy of the extraction procedure for text
messaging deprived the defendant of his right to effective
assistance of counsel.
In his first assignment of error, Martin contends he received
ineffective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel: (1)
elicited testimony during cross-examination concerning the
relationship between Belfiore and Martin; (2) failed to
object, move to strike, or request a limiting instruction in
response to a witness's statement; and (3) failed to
request a Daubert hearing. We disagree.
In order to prevail on a claim of ineffective assistance of
counsel, Martin "must establish (1) that his
counsel's performance was deficient to the extent that
'counsel was not functioning as the "counsel"
guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment' and (2) that but for
his counsel's deficient performance the result of the
trial would have been different." State v.
Velez, 9th Dist. Lorain No. 13CA010518, 2015-Ohio-642,
¶ 18, quoting Strickland v. Washington, 466
U.S. 668, 687 (1984). This court need not address both prongs
of the Strickland test if it should find that Martin
failed to prove either prong. State v. Ray, 9th
Dist. Summit No. 22459, 2005-Ohio-4941, ¶ 10. A trial
counsel's performance will not be deemed ineffective
unless it falls below an objective standard of reasonable
representation. State v. Bradley, 42 Ohio St.3d 136,
143 (1989), paragraph two of the syllabus. Further, there
exists a strong presumption of the adequacy of counsel's
performance and that counsel's actions were sound trial
tactics. State v. Hoehn, 9th Dist. Medina No.
03CA0076-M, 2004-Ohio-1419, ¶ 45. Moreover,
"debatable trial tactics do not give rise to a claim of
ineffective assistance of counsel." Id. citing
State v. Clayton, 62 Ohio St.2d 45, 49 (1980).
First, Martin contends that his trial counsel was ineffective
when he elicited testimony from the detective regarding the
relationship between Belfiore and Martin because
"[t]here is no strategic reasoning within the
professional norm for defense counsel to attempt to elicit
how close Belfiore and Martin were at the time of the
shooting." The specific exchange that Martin points to
occurred when his trial counsel cross-examined a detective