Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Lake
Appeal from the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
2015 CR 000797.
Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Prosecutor, and Anna C.
Kelley, Assistant Prosecutor, OH 44077 (For
Charles R. Grieshammer, Lake County Public Defender, and
Vanessa R. Clapp, Assistant Public Defender, (For
CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, P.J.
Appellant, Donald Sprecker, Jr., appeals his conviction,
following a jury trial, in the Lake County Court of Common
Pleas of burglary. The only issue raised on appeal is whether
his conviction was against the manifest weight of the
evidence. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
On December 10, 2015, appellant was indicted for burglary, a
felony of the second degree. He pled not guilty and the case
proceeded to jury trial.
In August 2015, Raffaela "Nina" Dellerocili, a
79-year old woman, was living alone in Apartment 12 of a
12-unit apartment complex in Painesville. Nina's trusted
friend, Lilly Falin, also lived in the complex. On August 6,
2015, Nina had a mild stroke. She was treated in a hospital
for two days and then discharged to a nursing home for one
month. While Nina was in the nursing home, Ms. Falin came to
her apartment twice daily, once at 6:00 a.m. and once at 9:00
p.m., to feed her cats.
In the morning on Sunday, August 16, 2015, Ms. Falin entered
Nina's apartment as usual. Upon entering the bedroom, she
noticed the wire mesh outside the bedroom window was bent
down and the window was open. She also saw the bathroom was a
mess and the screen was out of the window.
Ms. Falin went to the nursing home and told Nina her
apartment had been broken into. Nina called the police,
reported the burglary, and made arrangements to meet them at
her apartment that morning. Painesville Police Officer
William Sickles met Nina and Ms. Falin at Nina's
apartment. Officer Sickles said he did not see any signs of
forced entry at the entrance door. He asked Nina to walk him
through her apartment and point out anything that was out of
Nina directed Officer Sickles to the bathroom, which was at
the rear of the apartment. He noticed the shower curtain had
fallen down and was leaning against the bathtub. Officer
Sickles saw mud on the rug in front of the tub. He saw the
two side-by-side window panes in the bathroom window were
haphazardly set up in the window frame. A sheet of plastic
that had been attached outside the window was torn and
partially inside the room.
In the bedroom, which was next to the bathroom and also at
the rear of the apartment, Nina pointed out the blanket on
her bed was flipped up. Officer Sickles said it was apparent
someone had been looking under the bed.
Nina noted the drawers in her dresser were open and their
contents disturbed. She said there was a lot of change
missing, totaling about $2.00, which she kept in a baggie in
her dresser drawer. When Nina moved back into her apartment
on September 2, 2015, she found her full bottle of 22
Oxycontin pills was also missing and reported this to Officer
Sickles. Based on her prior contacts with appellant, Nina
told Officer Sickles she believed he committed this break-in.
After going through the bedroom, Officer Sickles went outside
and walked around to the back of Nina's apartment where
he saw two windows, the bathroom window to the left and the
bedroom window to the right. Officer Sickles saw the bathroom
window panes were not in their track and were inside-out. The
screen to that window was on the ground below it. In that
area, the officer saw fresh footprints in the dirt. He also
saw puncture holes in the ground, which were consistent with
an apparatus used in the burglary. Officers at the scene made
a cast of a footprint, but, due to a problem with the casting
material, the cast fell apart and was useless for
Turning his attention to the bedroom window, Officer Sickles
noticed that wire mesh and, over that, a sheet of plastic had
been installed outside this window. The plastic was pulled
off and the mesh covering the window was pulled down, but
still in place. Just outside the bedroom window, Officer
Sickles saw more footprints and holes in the ground similar
to those he saw beneath the bathroom window. Based on this
evidence, Officer Sickles believed the bathroom window was
the point of entry.
Anngela Brown testified she moved into Apartment 2 of the
complex one year earlier in September 2014. At that time she
met appellant, who lived next door in Apartment 1. Apartments
1 and 2 are across the parking lot from Apartment 12,
Nina's apartment. Anngela and appellant began a romantic
relationship in December 2014, and in the same month, Anngela
moved in with him in his apartment.
Anngela said she had a brain tumor as a child and that,
following surgery to remove the tumor, she could not go to
"normal school" and had an IEP (individual
education plan) in high school. She said her doctors have
told her that, due to her brain surgery, "her brain
cannot accomplish the right way;" that she is a
"slow learner;" and that she has anxiety,
depression, and a "severe stress disorder." She
said that because of her disability, she is easily
frightened. She also has memory issues, which sometimes cause
her to remember events out of order and to forget details
unless she concentrates on them. She receives SSI benefits
due to her disability. Anngela is openly religious and goes
to church every week with her grandmother.
Anngela testified that on Saturday, August 15, 2015, at
around 8:30 p.m., appellant went to Apartment 2 to drink and
do drugs with friends who lived there. She said she went to
Apartment 2 at about 10:30 p.m. to ask him to come home. A
female occupant told Anngela he would come home in 20
minutes, but he did not. Anngela returned to Apartment 2
about an ...