Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Ruth R. Fischbein-Cohen
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Daniel A. Cleary Assistant Prosecuting
BEFORE: Celebrezze, J., Boyle, P.J., and Laster Mays, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
D. CELEBREZZE, JR., J.
Appellant, Joe L. Hill, III, appeals his burglary conviction,
claiming the verdict is against the manifest weight of the
evidence and unsupported by sufficient evidence. After a
thorough review of the record and law, this court affirms.
Factual and Procedural History
On April 6, 2015, Cleveland police officers arrived at an
apartment complex on Prospect Avenue responding to a 911 call
reporting that a person was raped. Officers went to an
apartment on the eighth floor and interviewed two women, one
visibly upset. O.R., through sobs, told officers that she had
been raped and that her attacker may still be in her
apartment on the sixth floor. Officers responded to that
apartment and found appellant naked, asleep on the couch.
Appellant was arrested and charged with two counts of rape,
one count of kidnapping, and one count of aggravated
At trial, the following testimony was adduced. Appellant
arrived at the apartment building in question with a friend
to hang out with some people he did not know. He was kicked
out of that apartment when he behaved inappropriately after
becoming intoxicated. Around that time, O.R. was in a
friend's apartment having dinner and decided to go back
to her apartment to get some juice. She pressed the button to
call the elevator to go up the two floors to her apartment.
When the doors opened, she discovered appellant slumped on
the floor. She tried to help him up as the elevator ascended.
When it arrived at her floor, she exited and walked the five
or so steps to her apartment. As she opened the door, she was
pushed from behind into her apartment by appellant. O.R.
testified that she was vaginally raped by appellant. During
the course of the rape, appellant passed out and O.R.
dressed, fled the apartment, and went to a friend's
apartment. Her friend called police after O.R. told her what
happened. Appellant was found by police, naked, and passed
out on the couch in O.R.'s apartment.
Anthony Jones testified that sometime after that day he was
outside a building on Prospect Avenue attempting to strike up
conversations with individuals to spread the "word of
God" when he noticed a girl, O.R., on her cell phone
crying. He approached her and asked her what was wrong. After
some back and forth, he testified she told him that she had
done something wrong, that she had made up a story of rape,
and someone was being prosecuted as a result. Jones
couldn't believe it at first, but tried to look up
information to see if any recently filed cases fit the story
relayed by the person he met on the street. He found
appellant and visited him in jail. Although he did not tell
appellant about his conversation with O.R., he told appellant
that he was sent by God to help him. Jones then helped
appellant's family look for other witnesses, but did not
go to the police or tell anyone of the conversation with O.R.
until several months later.
At the close of trial, the court found appellant not guilty
of the rape and kidnapping charges, but guilty of the offense
of burglary, a violation of R.C. 2911.12(B), and a felony of
the fourth degree. The court proceeded immediately to
sentencing, where it imposed a 15-month prison sentence,
informed appellant of postrelease control, and waived fines
Appellant then filed the instant appeal assigning one error
I. The within verdict was not supported by the manifest
weight of the evidence, and it was based on insufficient