FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
SUMMIT, OHIO CASE No. CR 13 12 3490
JACQUENETTE S. CORGAN, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
BEVAN WALSH, Prosecuting Attorney, and HEAVEN DIMARTINO,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
J. CARR, PRESIDING JUDGE.
Defendant-Appellant, Scott Purk, appeals from his convictions
in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. This Court
reverses and remands for further proceedings.
On the morning of March 18, 1985, Purk called for emergency
assistance and reported that his wife, who was nine months
pregnant at the time, had tried to hang herself from the
railing surrounding the stairwell in their two-floor
apartment. Purk greeted the police when they arrived and
directed them to his wife, who was lying on her back at the
foot of the stairs. Purk indicated that he had found his wife
hanging, had used a knife to cut her down, and had attempted
CPR before calling for assistance. The paramedics responded
only minutes after his call and were able to restore the
victim's heartbeat. They then transported her to a
hospital where she received further treatment and her son was
delivered via a cesarean birth. Despite their best efforts,
both the victim and her son died. Following an autopsy, the
victim's death was ruled a suicide, and the case was
In March 2009, Sergeant Ken Mifflin began investigating a
house fire that occurred at Purk's home in Stow. During
his investigation, Sergeant Mifflin learned that Purk's
first wife had died of an apparent suicide, but that there
were individuals who found the circumstances surrounding her
death suspicious. He then spent the next few years
investigating her death, requesting the original police
reports and interviewing various individuals. Eventually, he
approached the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office to
ask for an opinion. After listening to him and viewing the
original autopsy photos and results, the Medical
Examiner's Office agreed that it was appropriate to
exhume the victim's body for the purpose of conducting a
second autopsy. The second autopsy occurred in September
2011. As a result of the second autopsy, the victim's
death was ruled a homicide.
Subsequently, a grand jury indicted Purk on one count of
murder and one count of tampering with evidence. Four days
before trial, Purk moved to dismiss his indictment on the
basis of unconstitutional, pre-indictment delay. The court
heard arguments from the parties on the first day of trial,
and denied the motion. The matter then immediately proceeded
to trial, following which the jury found Purk guilty on both
counts. The court sentenced him to a total of 18 years to
life in prison to be served consecutively with a sentence
Purk was already serving in an unrelated matter.
Purk now appeals from his convictions and raises four
assignments of error for our review. For ease of analysis, we
consolidate several of the assignments of error.
OF ERROR I
THE 28-YEAR DELAY BETWEEN MARGARET PURK'S DEATH AND SCOTT
PURK'S INDICTMENT DEPRIVED MR. PURK OF DUE PROCESS OF
LAW, AND REQUIRES REVERSAL OF HIS CONVICTIONS.
In his first assignment of error, Purk argues that he was
denied due process when the trial court denied his motion to
dismiss and allowed him to stand trial for conduct he
allegedly committed 28 years before his indictment. Because
the record reflects that the trial court failed to apply the
correct legal standard when considering Purk's motion to