Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Butler
APPEAL FROM BUTLER COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS Case No.
Michael T. Gmoser, Butler County Prosecuting Attorney, Lina
N. Alkamhawi, for plaintiff-appellee.
N. Blauvelt, for defendant-appellant.
1} Defendant-appellant, Rebekah Kinner, appeals the
11-year prison sentence imposed by the Butler County Court of
Common Pleas for involuntary manslaughter, to which Kinner
pled guilty after allowing her boyfriend, Bradley Young, to
beat her two-year-old daughter to death.
2} Butler County Sheriffs Deputies responded to a
report of a child not breathing, and located Kinner, her
daughter, and Young in the home. Emergency responders
administered CPR to the child, who was then transferred to
the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center once it
was determ ined that the child suffered intracranial
bleeding. The child was placed on a ventilator, and was
unresponsive without reflexes or spontaneous movement.
Further examination revealed that the child suffered multiple
bruises to her forehead, cheek, arm, buttock, back, as well
as abrasions on her scalp and elbow. The child passed away
the day after she was admitted to the hospital.
3} Detectives interviewed Kinner and she admitted
that the abuse had been ongoing, including Young spanking the
child, smacking her, holding her mouth shut, shaking her, and
punching her. On the night before the child died, Young
punched the child multiple times in the back of the head
because she was crying, and also shook the child. When the
child continued to act fussy, Young smacked her four to five
times in the mouth. Kinner was present for the abuse, and did
nothing to stop Young from attacking the child.
4} Kinner was indicted for involuntary manslaughter,
endangering children, and permitting child abuse. She pled
guilty to each charge, and the trial court accepted her
guilty plea as validly made. The trial court then merged the
counts, and the state elected to proceed on the involuntary
manslaughter charge, a first-degree felony. The trial court
then sentenced Kinner to 11 years in prison. Kinner now
appeals her sentence, raising the following assignment of
5} THE TRIAL COURT ERRED TO THE PREJUDICE OF
APPELLANT WHEN IT IMPOSED A MAXIMUM PRISON TERM.
6} Kinner argues in her assignment of error that the
trial court erred in sentencing her to a maximum prison term
because it did not first properly consider Ohio's
7} We review felony sentences pursuant to R.C.
2953.08(G)(2). State v. Marcum, 146 Ohio St.3d 516,
2016-Ohio-1002, ¶ 1. Pursuant to that statute, an
appellate court does not review the sentencing court's
decision for an abuse of discretion. Id. at ¶
10. Rather, R.C. 2953.08(G)(2) permits an appellate court to
modify or vacate a sentence only if the appellate court finds
by clear and convincing evidence that "the record does
not support the trial court's findings under relevant
statutes or that the sentence is otherwise contrary to
law." Id. at ¶ 1.
8} A sentence is not clearly and convincingly
contrary to law where trial court "considers the
principles and purposes of R.C. 2929.11, as well as the
factors listed in R.C. 2929.12, properly imposes postrelease
control, and sentences the defendant within the permissible
statutory range." State v. Ahlers, 12th Dist.
Butler No. CA2015-06-100, 2016-Ohio-2890, ¶ 8. Thus,
this court may "increase, reduce, or otherwise modify a
sentence only when it clearly and convincingly finds that the
sentence is (1) contrary to law or (2) unsupported by the
record." State v. Brandenburg, 146 Ohio St.3d
221, 2016-Ohio-2970, ¶ 1.
9} After reviewing the record, we find that the
trial court did not err in sentencing Kinner to 11 years in
prison, as her sentence was not contrary to law and was
otherwise supported by the record. As previously noted,
Kinner was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, a felony of
the first degree. According to R.C. 2929.14(A)(1), the proper
range for a first-degree felony is three to 11 years. As
such, Kinner's 11-year sentence was within the statutory
guideline for a felony of the first degree.
10} The trial court also considered the purposes and
principles of sentencing as required by R.C. 2929.11 and R.C.
2929.12, which is evident in the transcript of the sentencing
hearing as well as the trial court's sentencing entry.
The trial court noted the seriousness of the offense, as well
as Kinner's series of bad choices that led to the
child's death. As previously noted, the child had
multiple injuries that Kinner did nothing to stop. Kinner
knew her boyfriend smacked, shook, and punched the child, and
she did nothing to stop him. Moreover, Kinner waited until
the child stopped breathing to call for ...