Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Belmont
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Belmont County, Ohio
Case No. 15 CR 0009
Plaintiff-Appellee Attorney Daniel P. Fry Belmont County
Prosecutor Attorney J. Flanagan Assistant Prosecutor
Defendant-Appellant Attorney R. Miller
JUDGES: Hon. Mary DeGenaro Hon. Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Carol
Defendant-Appellant, Montrell Black, appeals the trial
court's judgment convicting him of rape of a victim under
13 years old and sentencing him accordingly. Black argues the
trial court erred by permitting the State to cross-exam the
victim as a hostile witness. Further, he contends his
conviction was not supported by sufficient evidence as well
as being against the manifest weight of the evidence. For the
following reasons, Black's assignments of error are
meritless, and the trial court's judgment is affirmed.
and Procedural History
Black was indicted in early 2015 for rape, R.C. 2907.02
(A)(1)(b), a first-degree felony. The charges stemmed from
Black having sex with J.L., then 12 years old, at a party on
June 16, 2012, which also involved two other minor females,
F.L. and H.G., Cordale Williams and an identified third male.
As recounted below, the gap in time between the offense and
indictment was due to a delayed match for Black as the
offender in the national DNA database.
The first of the State's five witnesses was J.L., who was
fifteen at the time of trial. On direct examination she
testified that she traveled to the Econo Lodge with F.L. and
H.G., that they picked up Williams on the way, and upon
arriving at the hotel, she smoked marijuana and drank vodka
and orange juice. When the prosecutor asked J.L. what
happened next, she spontaneously recanted her prior
statements made during the investigation about having sex,
testifying "I know in this video here I said that I had
sex with men there. I didn't. I never had any sexual
relationships with any men there."
In response, the prosecutor made reference to J.L.'s
interview at the Harmony House Child Advocacy Center, which
took place less than 48 hours after the hotel party. The
Q. And you are now telling this jury for the first time that
there was no sexual activity that occurred in the motel room?
A. No, sir.
Q. But upon seeing the video cued up, you immediately
recognize that that is not what you had told other
individuals prior to today's proceedings?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When is it that you had determined that you were going to
testify to this jury that you did not have any sexual
relationships with anybody inside of the Econo Lodge?
A. I'm not sure. I mean, I just want to tell the truth. I
lied. I lied about the whole thing. I did go to the hotel
room. I did get ...