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State v. Staton

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

June 22, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
FRANK E. STATON DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-604881-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Britta Barthol

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Margaret Kane Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: Blackmon, J., E.T. Gallagher, P.J., and Celebrezze, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          PATRICIA ANN BLACKMON, JUDGE

         {¶1} Frank E. Staton ("Staton") appeals from the consecutive 33-year sentences imposed in connection with his guilty plea to two aggravated murders, and other offenses. Staton assigns the following two errors for our review:

I. The trial court failed to make all the factual findings necessary to sentence appellant to consecutive sentences under R.C. 2929.14.
II. The trial court erred in memorializing in its journal entry that [Staton] is ordered to pay the cost of the prosecution.

         {¶2} Having reviewed the record and pertinent law, we affirm the trial court's sentence, but we reverse and remand for nunc pro tunc correction of the record to reflect the trial court's statement at sentencing that costs are waived. The apposite facts follow.

         {¶3} On April 1, 2016, Frank E. Staton was indicted in an eight-count indictment in connection with the shooting deaths of Terri Treadway ("Treadway") and Catherine Sutter ("Sutter"), his coworkers at the Hamlet Retirement Community in Chagrin Falls. Counts 1 and 2 charged Staton with aggravated murder, and Counts 3 and 6 charged him with murder. The remaining counts charged him with felonious assault, and all of the counts contained one-year and three-year firearm specifications. Staton pled not guilty to the charges.

         {¶4} On August 23, 2016, Staton entered into a plea agreement with the state. Staton pled guilty to all of the charges, in exchange for the state's agreement not to seek the death penalty.

         {¶5} The matter proceeded directly to sentencing. The court heard from an employee of Hamlet Retirement Community, Treadway's sister, and Sutter's husband, sister, and children. The court subsequently merged all of the charges and specifications pertaining to Treadway (Counts 1, 3, 4, and 5), and all of the charges and specifications pertaining to Sutton (Counts 2, 6, 7, 8). The state elected to proceed to sentencing on the aggravated murder charges, Counts 1 and 2. The court sentenced Staton to a term of 30 years to life, plus a three-year firearm specification for the aggravated murder of Treadway, to be served consecutively to the same term for the aggravated murder of Sutton.

         Consecutive Sentences

         {¶6} Staton acknowledges that the trial court made findings to support the imposition of the 33-year consecutive sentences, but he asks this court to review the court's statements ...


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