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State v. Crawford

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Perry

June 19, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
JAMES D. CRAWFORD Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Perry County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 15-CR-0042

          For Plaintiff-Appellee JOSEPH A. FLAUTT Prosecuting Attorney

          For Defendant-Appellant JAMES S. SWEENEY James Sweeney Law, LLC

          Hon. Patrica A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

          OPINION

          Baldwin, J.

         {¶1} Appellant James D. Crawford appeals a judgment of the Perry County Common Pleas Court convicting him of felonious assault (R.C. 2903.11(A)(1)) and sentencing him to five years incarceration. Appellee is the State of Ohio.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} On Friday April 25, 2014, Richard McGrath received a phone call from appellant asking him to come over to talk about some problems appellant was experiencing. McGrath lived with Kimberly Hanning, his long-term girlfriend, and drove his pickup truck to appellant's home.

         {¶3} Appellant and McGrath drank beer and moonshine at appellant's home, before driving to the home of Darla Jackson in McGrath's pickup truck. Appellant and McGrath had a disagreement at Jackson's home, and appellant stated to McGrath, "[T]hen I'll just beat the fuck out of you." Tr. 139. The pair left Jackson's home shortly before midnight.

         {¶4} After arriving back at appellant's residence, McGrath made a statement to appellant which appellant did not like. Appellant hit McGrath and drug him outside. While outside, appellant continued to hit McGrath, kicked him in the jaw while wearing steel-toed boots, and kicked him in the ribs.

         {¶5} Appellant and a man Hanning did not know brought McGrath home the next morning. They did not bring McGrath's pickup truck, but sometime the next day Hanning noticed the truck had been returned. McGrath was unable to walk and the men carried him into the house with McGrath's arms around their shoulders and his feet barely touching the floor. They placed him in a recliner, which he promptly fell out of. Appellant told Hanning that McGrath had fallen off a wall.

         {¶6} Hanning noted that McGrath's face looked strange, and he was barely able to talk. He did not want her to call 911 or the police. She drug him into the bedroom using a sheet, and took off his clothing. He moaned a lot. Eventually, he agreed that she should call 911. He was initially treated at a hospital in Nelsonville before being transferred to Grant Hospital in Columbus. Bruising on McGrath's face, as depicted in pictures taken at the hospital, resembled the imprint of a boot.

         {¶7} McGrath woke up in the Columbus hospital with two broken jaws, a broken leg, five broken ribs, and a broken shoulder. He had surgery on his jaw, and at the time of trial needed surgery on his eye and shoulder.

         {¶8} On the day after the assault, Clarence Fulk, appellant's brother-in-law, had a birthday party at his home. While at the party, appellant told Fulk that he and McGrath got into a fight, and he might have choked McGrath. McGrath's brother, Robert, was also at the party. Appellant told Robert, "You're [sic] fucking brother will never drink moonshine in my house ...


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