Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland
from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee GARY D. BISHOP Richland County Prosecutor
By: DANIEL M. ROGERS Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Defendant-Appellant WILLIAM C. FITHIAN, III
JUDGES: Hon. W. Scott Gwin, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.
Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.
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.
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Appellant was indicted by the Richland County Grand Jury on
February 10, 2016 on two alternative counts of burglary.
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