Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
Appeal from Common Pleas Court T.C. NO. 13CR90
R. NOTHSTINE, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee
ALLEN WILMES, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant
1} Craig Turpin was found guilty by a jury and
sentenced by the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas on
two counts of rape of a child under the age of 10 and one
count of gross sexual imposition of a child under the age of
13; the trial court also found Turpin to be a sexually
violent predator. He was sentenced to "a total of life
without the possibility of parole consecutive to a term of 5
years to life." Turpin appeals from his conviction.
2} For the following reasons, the judgment of the
trial court will be affirmed.
3} On January 14, 2013, Turpin was indicted on three
counts of rape of a child under the age of ten (with sexually
violent predator specifications), two counts of gross sexual
imposition involving a child under the age of 13 (with
sexually violent predator specifications), and one count of
kidnapping (with sexual activity, sexually violent predator
specification, and sexual motivation). There were two alleged
victims. One count of rape of a child (Count VI) related to
Turpin's daughter (H.H.); Counts I through V related to a
neighbor's child (J.H.).
4} Turpin filed numerous pretrial motions. He filed
a motion to dismiss or to sever the single count related to
H.H. from the counts related to J.H.; the trial court
overruled the motion to dismiss but sustained the motion to
sever. Turpin also filed motions to determine J.H.'s
competency to testify and to bifurcate the sexually violent
predator specifications from Counts I through V, both of
which were sustained.
5} Turpin's trial was set for October 29, 2013.
On October 28, he entered guilty pleas to two counts in
exchange for the dismissal of other counts. However, on
November 21, 2013, prior to sentencing, Turpin filed a motion
to withdraw his guilty pleas. Following a hearing, the trial
court sustained Turpin's motion.
6} In February 2015, Turpin was tried by a jury on
the charges against him related to J.H.; at Turpin's
request, the sexually violent predator specifications were
tried separately by the court. The evidence presented at
trial will be discussed below. Turpin was found guilty of two
counts of rape of a person under the age of 10, one count of
gross sexual imposition under the age of 13, and one count of
kidnapping (for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity)
(Counts I, II, III, and V). Turpin was found not guilty of
gross sexual imposition, as charged in Count IV. Count VI,
the severed charge of rape of a different victim (H.H.), was
dismissed without prejudice. Following a bench trial, Turpin
was also found to be a sexually violent predator.
7} The court merged Counts II and V (rape and
kidnapping, respectively), and sentenced Turpin on Count II.
Turpin was sentenced to mandatory life without parole for
each count of rape, and to five years to life on the gross
sexual imposition, to be served consecutively.
8} Turpin raises two assignments of error on appeal,
which assert that the trial court erred in allowing the
testimony of H.H., a second alleged child-victim of Turpin,
during the bench trial about Turpin's sexually violent
predator classification, and that his convictions were
against the manifest weight of the evidence. The
consideration of a sexually violent predator specification
follows a defendant's conviction on the offense for which
the specification is included. See R.C. 2971.02.
Therefore, we begin with Turpin's argument that his
convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence.
The Weight of the Evidence
Rapes, Gross Sexual Imposition, and Kidnapping
9} In his second assignment of error, Turpin
contends that his convictions were against the manifest
weight of the evidence because of the absence of DNA
evidence, the absence of signs of physical penetration, the
victim's failure to contract a sexually transmitted
disease with which Turpin was diagnosed shortly after the
victim's disclosure, and the victim's lack of
10} When reviewing an argument challenging the
weight of the evidence, an appellate court reviews the entire
record, weighs the evidence and all reasonable inferences,
considers the credibility of witnesses, and determines
whether, in resolving conflicts in the evidence, the finder
of fact clearly lost its way and created such a manifest
miscarriage of justice that the conviction must be reversed
and a new trial ordered. State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio
St.3d 380, 387, 678 N.E.2d 541 (1997), quoting State v.
Martin, 20 Ohio App.3d 172, 175, 485 N.E.2d 717 (1st
11} Turpin was charged with rape, gross sexual
imposition, and kidnapping. For purposes of this case, rape
is defined as engaging in sexual conduct with another who is
not the spouse of the offender, when the other person is less
than thirteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows
the age of the other person. R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b). (A
harsher sentence applies where, as in this case, the State
proves that the victim was under the age of 10. R.C.
2907.02(B).) Gross sexual imposition is defined as having
sexual contact with another, not the spouse of the offender,
or causing another, not the spouse of the offender, to have
sexual contact with the offender, when the other person is
less than thirteen years of age, whether or not the offender
knows the age of that person. R.C. 2907.05(A)(4). Kidnapping
is removing another from the place where the other person is
found or restraining the liberty of the other person, by
force, threat, or deception, or, in the case of a victim
under the age of thirteen or mentally incompetent, by any
means, for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with
the victim against the victim's will. R.C. 2905.01
12} The State presented the following evidence at
13} J.H. (the victim), her mother, and her two older
brothers (ages 11 and 16 at the time of trial) testified that
they had lived in a second-floor apartment in Dayton in late
2012. Turpin, who was nicknamed "Cowboy, " lived on
the first floor of the same building. Turpin had been friends
with Mother's then-boyfriend, T., who also lived with the
family. Mother worked many second and third shifts as a
nurse's aide, during which time the children were often
watched by T.; T. and the children would sometimes "hang
out" with Cowboy. However, as of mid-November 2012, T.
no longer lived in the apartment with J.H.'s family, the
children were often left home alone, and the children began
to spend more time with Cowboy. They played on a Wii game
system and watched movies in Cowboy's apartment.
Sometimes Turpin would send the boys to the store for candy
or soft drinks, but J.H. usually was not allowed to go along.
14} On January 1, 2013, J.H. disclosed to Mother
that "Cowboy" had touched her inappropriately;
Mother confronted Turpin by text message, and he denied the
allegation. Mother did not immediately call the police. She
testified that she did not have a lot of details at that
point, and that she had been through a similar disclosure as
a child and did not want J.H. to go through the same
unpleasant experience. However, Mother called the police on
January 4, 2013. The assaults were alleged to have occurred
between November 16, 2012, when T. stopped living with
J.H.'s family, and January 1, 2013.
15} After the police responded to the family's
apartment and collected preliminary information from J.H.,
J.H. was taken to Dayton Children's Hospital, where a
sexual assault exam was conducted. Later that day, the police
learned that Turpin was working as a painter at a car
dealership in another county; they arranged to have him
picked up and transported back to Dayton, whereupon Turpin
consented to a search of his apartment and provided the
police with a key. The police ...