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State v. Woodford

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Noble

June 12, 2017

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
TY E. WOODFORD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

         Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Noble County, Ohio Case No. 216-2002

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: Atty. Kelly Riddle

          For Defendant-Appellant: Atty Stephen T. Wolfe Wolfe Law Group, LLC

          Hon. Carol Ann Robb Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Mary DeGenaro

          OPINION

          ROBB, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-Appellant Ty E. Woodford appeals the judgment of the Noble County Common Pleas Court after a jury convicted him of complicity to illegal manufacturing of drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile and two merged offenses. Appellant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence. He also challenges the jury's weighing of the evidence. For the following reasons, the trial court's judgment is affirmed.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         {¶2} Due to police observations occurring in the garage at Appellant's Caldwell residence on December 10, 2015, Appellant was indicted on three drug counts. Count one charged complicity in the illegal manufacture of drugs, a first-degree felony due to the drug being methamphetamine and due to the allegation the offense was committed in the vicinity of a juvenile. See R.C. 2925.04(A), (C)(1), (3)(b). Count two charged Appellant with the illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a second-degree felony due to the allegation the offense was committed in the vicinity of a juvenile. See R.C. 2925.041(A), (C). Count three charged Appellant with permitting drug abuse, a first-degree misdemeanor. See R.C. 2925.13(B), (C)(3).

         {¶3} At trial, Deputy Myers and Deputy Stokes testified the Noble County Sheriff's Department received a report concerning a stolen vehicle at Appellant's residence. When they pulled into Appellant's driveway, Appellant was standing by his truck which was parked near a detached garage. Appellant was holding a twelve-inch long file; he explained he was using it to sharpen his chainsaw and said he was at his truck to get some tools. (Tr. 26, 28, 51). There was no garage door on the garage, which allowed the officers to see a vehicle inside. Deputy Myers testified he saw a tattered tarp partially covering a yellow 1971 Fleetside truck matching the description of the stolen vehicle. (Tr. 26, 27, 40). When the officers advised Appellant of this fact and of his rights, Appellant signed a consent form allowing the officers to search the garage. (Tr. 26, 51).

         {¶4} Appellant said William Cool was working on the truck. (Tr. 37). At this point, William Cool walked out of the garage. He was secured in the cruiser, and the officers entered the garage. (Tr. 27). As the officers approached the truck in the garage, they noticed a strong chemical smell, which they both recognized as the smell of a methamphetamine lab. (Tr. 28, 51). Two men (Randy Rainer and Bryan Henthorne) then emerged from a room in the back left corner of the garage. The officers secured the two men and re-entered the garage. (Tr. 27). When they reached the back left corner, they observed items which appeared to be part of a methamphetamine lab. (Tr. 27-28, 52). In the lab area, they also noticed a chainsaw on a stool; it appeared someone had been working on it. (Tr. 28-29, 52). For safety reasons, the officers vacated the garage and called a special task force with expertise in neutralizing the volatile chemicals involved in making methamphetamine (aka meth). (Tr. 29-30). Thereafter, they noticed various items used in making meth were scattered throughout the garage. (Tr. 42-43).

         {¶5} When asked if Appellant made any statements to him acknowledging the lab, Deputy Stokes responded, "He said he wouldn't know what it looked like." (Tr. 53). Deputy Myers testified that after he confronted Appellant with his observations, "[Appellant] stated that he felt there was a small shake and bake but it was not his. He said it was Mr. Cool's. * * * He said he had seen one which what he referred to as a shake and bake." (Tr. 28, 48). The officer explained the phrase "shake and bake" is the slang term for the type of meth lab involved. (Tr. 28).

         {¶6} A lieutenant with the special task force testified he was trained to disassemble and neutralize the components of a meth lab. He confirmed the meth-making involved was called the "one pot shake and bake method." (Tr. 67). He explained the steps and supplies involved. For instance, the meth is cooked in a bottle (or reaction vessel) via a chemical reaction triggered by fluids and the lithium removed from batteries. During the violent reaction, sparks can be observed in the reaction vessel and pressure builds up during the process which must be released to avoid explosion. (Tr. 68, 110). He described how evidence of the supplies for each step was recovered from the scene. He said it takes 1-1.5 hours to make a batch of meth. (Tr. 92). The batch recovered was not fully ready for consumption as the meth powder had not yet been extracted from the meth oil with one of the hydrogen chloride gas generators he found. (Tr. 110). He testified to lab results confirming the presence of 26.4 grams of methamphetamine in one of the reaction vessels. (Tr. 71).

         {¶7} A detective testified a woman and her children were present in the house when he and the sheriff arrived that night. (Tr. 57, 60). He presented evidence the woman had two children, ages 15 and 16. (Tr. 57). He testified the house was within 100 feet of the garage, approximating it was 75 feet away. He also said one could see into the garage from the house as there was no garage door. (Tr. 58, 61). He explained there were items, including bottles with tubes coming out of them, "laying everywhere" which were observable upon entering the garage (and were not solely in the back room). (Tr. 51).

         {¶8} William Cool testified he pled guilty to a drug charge arising from this incident and was serving a four-year sentence. He said Appellant was a friend he knew for many years. He had been at Appellant's house since the day before the police arrived as he was working on the stolen truck. (Tr. 118). Cool claimed he promised Appellant meth for helping him steal the truck. (Tr. 128). He disclosed he was in the garage with ...


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