Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Turpin

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery

June 9, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
CRAIG E. TURPIN Defendant-Appellant

         Criminal Appeal from Common Pleas Court T.C. NO. 13CR90

          LYNNE R. NOTHSTINE, Attorney for Plaintiff-Appellee

          J. ALLEN WILMES, Attorney for Defendant-Appellant

          OPINION

          FROELICH, J.

         {¶ 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.

         I. Procedural History

         {¶ 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.

         II. The Weight of the Evidence

         A. 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 credibility.

         {¶ 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 Dist.1983).

         {¶ 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 (A)(4).

         {¶ 12} The State presented the following evidence at trial:

         {¶ 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 ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.