Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County,
Ohio Case No. 11 CR 1019.
Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Paul Gains Mahoning County
Prosecutor Attorney Ralph Rivera Assistant Prosecutor
Defendant-Appellant Ronnie Helms, Pro-se Attorney Donna
JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Carol Ann
In this delayed appeal, Defendant-Appellant, Ronnie Helms,
appeals the trial court's judgment convicting him of rape
and kidnapping and sentencing him accordingly. Helms argues
the trial court erred by failing to merge his convictions for
those charges. For the following reasons, Helms'
assignment of error is meritless and the judgment of the
trial court is affirmed.
In 2011, Helms was indicted by a grand jury on one count of
rape, R.C. 2907.02(A)(2)(B), with an attached sexual predator
specification, R.C. 2941.148; and one count of kidnapping,
R.C. 2905.01(A)(4)(C), with an attached sexual motivation
specification, R.C. 2941.147, both first degree felonies. As
described in the bill of particulars, Helms drove the victim
home, stopped the car by her home and made sexual advances
which were rejected. Helms then locked the doors and
instructed the victim that she was not getting out of the
car. Helms then drove her to a different location, where he
held her down while she struggled and raped her.
Helms was arraigned, pled not guilty and counsel was
appointed. Helms subsequently entered into a Crim.R. 11 plea
agreement, whereby the State agreed to dismiss the two
specifications, and Helms agreed to plead guilty to rape and
kidnapping. The parties agreed to a jointly-recommended
sentence of 13 years.
Following a plea hearing in September 2012, Helms pled guilty
to the two charges and the State dismissed the
specifications. The matter proceeded immediately to
sentencing, where the trial court dismissed the specification
and imposed the jointly-recommended 13-year sentence: 10
years on the rape count, and 3 years on the kidnapping count,
to be served consecutively, along with a five-year term of
mandatory post-release control. Helms stipulated to his
classification as a Tier-III sex offender. Helms failed to
argue at sentencing that the rape and kidnapping convictions
should merge, and failed to file a direct appeal within the
30-day time-frame provided in App.R. 4(A).
In 2014, Helms filed three pro-se motions: two to withdraw
his guilty plea, and one asking the court to immediately
release him due to an alleged speedy trial violation. These
motions were overruled by the trial court.
Pertinent to this appeal, Helms timely appealed that judgment
pro se, arguing for the first time that his rape and
kidnapping convictions should have merged. This court
rejected that argument for procedural reasons, noting that
none of his post-sentence motions had argued merger; and that
at that point he had failed to directly appeal his conviction
and sentence where such an argument could have been properly
raised. Thus, this court affirmed the judgment of the trial
court. See State v. Helms, 7th Dist. No. 14 MA 96,
In July 2015, Helms filed several pro-se motions to hold a
limited resentencing hearing regarding allied offenses, which
the trial court denied.
Finally, Helms filed a motion for leave to file a delayed
direct appeal from his initial sentencing entry of ...