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State v. Rice

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland

May 17, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JOSHUA C. RICE Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016CR109D

          For Plaintiff-Appellee GARY D. BISHOP Richland County Prosecutor By: DANIEL M. ROGERS Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          For Defendant-Appellant WILLIAM C. FITHIAN, III

          JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          Baldwin, J.

         {¶1} Appellant Joshua C. Rice appeals a judgment of the Richland County Common Pleas convicting him of two counts of burglary (R.C. 2911.12(A)(1) & (2)) and sentencing him to five years incarceration. Appellee is the State of Ohio.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} Around 4:30 a.m. on June 26, 2015, Dan Seckel heard glass breaking in the kitchen of his house. Seckel came downstairs and noticed his back door was wide open, with glass broken out of the door. He observed a suspect in a white t-shirt fleeing across the neighbor's property. The suspect stole Shelly Seckel's purse, which had been sitting in the kitchen. The purse contained three debit cards, an American Express credit card, $80 in cash, and two pieces of jewelry. The purse and items inside were not recovered.

         {¶3} Dan Seckel ran out the back door, and discovered a kitchen spoon and a multi-tool in the driveway near the back door. The spoon belonged to the Seckels, but the multi-tool did not. Police collected the spoon and tool and submitted the evidence to the crime lab.

         {¶4} At 5:11 a.m., the suspect used Shelly Seckel's American Express card at an ATM located near the home. Although Mansfield police obtained the surveillance photograph showing the suspect using the card, the suspect covered his face and could not be identified.

         {¶5} On July 22, 2015, Dawn Fryback, a DNA expert with the Mansfield Police Department Crime Lab, identified appellant as a possible source of the major male DNA profile recovered from the multi-tool.

         {¶6} Detective Frank Parella took over the investigation on September 10, 2015. He learned that appellant was in the Richland County Jail on unrelated charges, and went to interview appellant at the jail on September 23, 2015. Sgt. Ken Carroll accompanied Det. Parella. Appellant was advised of his Miranda rights and signed a written waiver. During the interview, appellant admitted to breaking into homes in the area of the Seckels' house on June 26, 2015. He could not remember specifically which houses he broke into, due to his drug use at the time. Appellant admitted that he owned a multi-tool, but did not know where it was. He told police that he woke up later in the day on June 26, 2015, with blood on his body and money that he could not account for. Appellant consented to a buccal swab. After submitting the swab to the crime lab, Dawn Fryback issued a report confirming with a reasonable degree of scientific certainty that appellant was the source of the major DNA profile recovered from the multi-tool.

         {¶7} Appellant was indicted by the Richland County Grand Jury on February 10, 2016 on two alternative counts of burglary.

         {¶8} On July 1, 2016, appellant filed a notice of alibi, stating that he was working at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with his father and a friend at the time of the burglary. Mansfield police attempted unsuccessfully to make contact with both appellant's father and his friend. Mid-Ohio informed police that the facility is open twenty-four hours a day, does not have a process for checking in or out, and allows vendors to come and go as they please. The only ...


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