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State v. Horner

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District, Wayne

August 28, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Appellee
v.
PAUL F. HORNER, II Appellant

         APPEAL FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2016 CRC-I 000010

          APPEARANCES: PATRICK L. BROWN, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.

          DANIEL R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATHAN R. SHAKER, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.

          DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY

          JENNIFER HENSAL, PRESIDING JUDGE.

         {¶1} Paul Horner appeals his convictions and sentence from the Wayne County Court of Common Pleas. We affirm in part, and reverse in part.

         I.

         {¶2} This appeal concerns Paul Horner's involvement with a failed attempt to manufacture methamphetamine. According to Mr. Horner, he left his apartment one evening, which was on the third floor of a boarding house, to buy groceries. When he returned home, J.S., whom he knew, was there visiting a housemate. J.S. followed Mr. Horner into his apartment. Mr. Horner then went downstairs to the communal kitchen to make dinner. Mr. Horner testified that J.S. then returned to the other housemate's room. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Horner heard an explosion and ran upstairs toward his apartment. As he was doing so, J.S. ran past him on fire. Mr. Horner told a housemate to call 911, and told another housemate, who had a young child with her, to get out of the house. Mr. Horner then put out the fire in his apartment.

         {¶3} J.S., however, presented conflicting testimony. According to J.S. Mr. Horner asked him to come to his apartment to make methamphetamine. Mr. Horner told J.S. to bring batteries and Sudafed, but indicated that he had everything else needed to make methamphetamine. J.S. testified that Mr. Horner placed the items necessary to make methamphetamine in a plastic bottle. Mr. Horner instructed J.S. to "gas the bottle[, ]" and then went downstairs, locking the door behind him. Shortly thereafter, the bottle exploded and a fire erupted. J.S. managed to put out most of the fire, but sustained second-degree burns in the process. As soon as Mr. Horner unlocked the apartment door, J.S. ran down the stairs and out of the house.

         {¶4} A Grand Jury indicted Mr. Horner on counts for aggravated arson in violation of Revised Code Section 2909.02(A)(1); aggravated arson in violation of Section 2909.02(A)(2); illegal manufacture of drugs (methamphetamine) in violation of Section 2925.04(A); illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs (methamphetamine) in violation of Section 2925.041(A); and endangering children in violation of Section 2919.22(B)(6). Mr. Horner pleaded not guilty, and the case proceeded to a bench trial.

         {¶5} The trial court found Mr. Horner not guilty of the arson counts, but guilty of the remaining counts. The trial court sentenced him to four years of imprisonment for the illegal-manufacture offense, three years of imprisonment for the illegal-assembly offense, and two years of imprisonment for the endangering-children offense. The trial court ordered the sentences to run concurrently for a total stated prison term of four years. Mr. Horner now appeals, raising three assignments of error for our review.

         II.

         ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR I

         THE TRIAL COURT'S JUDGMENT CONVICTING MR. HORNER OF ILLEGALLY MANUFACTURING METHAMPHETAMINE WAS NOT SUPPORTED BY SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.

{¶6} In his first assignment of error, Mr. Horner argues that his conviction for illegally manufacturing methamphetamine was not supported by sufficient evidence. Whether a conviction is supported by sufficient evidence is a question of law, which we review de novo. State v. Thompkins,78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997). In making this ...


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