Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Mahoning
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Mahoning County,
Ohio Case No. 14 CR 457
Plaintiff-Appellee: Atty. Paul J. Gains Mahoning County
Prosecutor Atty. Ralph M. Rivera Assistant Prosecuting
Defendant-Appellant: Atty. Rhys B. Cartwright-Jones
Carol Ann Robb Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Mary DeGenaro
Defendant-Appellant appeals his conviction entered in
Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for telecommunications
harassment, impersonating a peace officer, and disrupting
public services. Three issues are raised in this appeal. The
first is whether there was sufficient evidence Appellant
impersonated a peace officer. The second is whether trial
counsel was ineffective for failing to stipulate to the prior
telecommunication harassment convictions. The third is
whether the trial court made the requisite consecutive
sentence findings at the sentencing hearing. For the reasons
discussed below, the verdicts are affirmed. However, the
sentence is reversed and the matter remanded for a limited
sentencing hearing because the trial court did not make the
required consecutive sentence findings at the sentencing
of the Facts and Case
In January 2014, Appellant pled guilty to seven counts of
telecommunication harassment. State's Exhibit 9 and 10.
In March 2014, he was sentenced to community control for
those convictions and released from the jail. State's
Exhibit 10. During the pendency of that case, Appellant was
being held in the Mahoning County Jail. Deputy Alicia Hawkins
was one of the deputies supervising Appellant. During his
stay in the Mahoning County Jail, Deputy Hawkins had to
reprimand Appellant because she caught him masturbating.
According to Appellant, he felt Deputy Hawkins treated him
On April 8, 2014, while working at the jail, Deputy Hawkins
received a telephone call on the jail's telephone line.
The phone call was from a "Brian Myers" claiming to
be a Struthers police officer and/or detective. Tr. 131-132.
This person told Deputy Hawkins somebody called and
complained about her, and he was investigating the complaint.
Tr. 132. He asked to meet her on her lunch break. She
explained she was not permitted to leave on her lunch break,
but told him she would meet him at another time. Tr. 131-132.
He indicated he would call back later to set a time to meet.
Tr. 132-133. She testified she was scared she would lose her
job. Tr. 132. She informed her supervisor about the call and
wrote a report on the incident. Tr. 133-134.
"Brian Myers" called the jail again on April 22,
2014 and spoke to Deputy Hawkins. Tr. 135. During this
telephone call they set a date and time to meet. Tr. 135. A
meeting was arranged for the next day at the Plasma Center
across from the jail. Tr. 136. Deputy Hawkins notified her
supervisors of the call and wrote a report on the incident.
Tr. 136. The Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force was
notified and they provided surveillance for the meeting. Tr.
137, 165. "Brian Myers" did not show for the
meeting. Tr.137, 165.
On May 14, 2014 Deputy Hawkins received another telephone
call while working at the jail. This call was from
"Kevin Bryant." Tr. 139. "Kevin Bryant"
alleged to be from Trumbull County Administration or Trumbull
County Sheriffs Office. Tr.139-140. He told Deputy Hawkins he
was getting people together from other jails to talk about
jail operations. Tr. 139. He told her he would call back the
next day to give her the details of the meeting. Tr. 140.
Deputy Hawkins recognized his voice as the same person
claiming to be "Brian Myers." Tr. 139. She
immediately advised her supervisors of the telephone call and
wrote a report. Tr. 140.
The Task Force was called and Deputy Hawkins was given a
recording device to record the next phone call she received
from this individual. Tr. 141.
"Kevin Bryant" called the next day and Deputy
Hawkins recorded the conversation. Tr. 142; State's
Exhibit 11. He told her the meeting was going to take place
the following morning at the old Alberini's in Niles and
she was to wear dress clothes and heels. Tr. 142; State's
The Task Force accompanied Deputy Hawkins to the meeting. Tr.
146. No one appeared for the meeting.
Deputy Hawkins and the officers working on the case went back
to the jail. Detective Anthony Murphy remembered another
telecommunication harassment case, showed Deputy Hawkins a
picture of Appellant, and asked if she knew him. Tr. 147.
Deputy Hawkins stated she knew him and relayed the incident
at the jail when she had to reprimand him. Tr. 148-149. She
also listened to telephone calls he made from the jail. Tr.
150-151. She identified Appellant's voice as "Brian
Myers" and "Kevin Bryant." Tr. 151.
Detective Murphy and Sergeant Larry McLaughlin called
Appellant's probation officer and went to Appellant's
house. Appellant agreed to cooperate and gave a statement. In
his statement, Appellant explained he used a computer to make
the phone calls and he did these things to "mess"
with Deputy Hawkins because of how she treated him when he
was in jail. State's Exhibit 12. During the conversation,
Appellant admits to calling Deputy Hawkins only twice.
However, in discussing the incidents he referenced the call
about the Struthers investigation and asking her to meet him
at the Plasma Center. State's Exhibit 12. He also talked
about acting like he was somebody from Warren/Trumbull County
Sheriff's Department and arranging a meeting at the old
Alberini's in Niles. State's Exhibit 12.
As a result, Appellant was indicted for four counts of
telecommunication harassment in violation of R.C.
2917.21(B)(C)(1)(2), fifth-degree felonies; four counts of
impersonating a peace officer in violation of R.C.
2921.51(E)(G), third-degree felonies; and four counts of
disrupting public services in violation of R.C.
2919.04(B)(C), fourth-degree felonies. 5/22/14 Indictment.
The telecommunication harassment charges were elevated to
fifth-degree felonies because of his prior telecommunication
Appellant pled not guilty, filed a motion to suppress his
confession and Deputy Hawkins' voice identification, and
filed a motion in limine to prevent the state from
referencing his prior telephone harassment convictions and
similar unproven conduct. 9/3/14 Motion to Suppress; 5/18/15
Motion to Suppress Voice Identification; 9/14/15 Motion in
Limine. The motions were overruled. 5/19/15 J.E.; 8/21/15
The case proceeded to a jury trial. Appellant was found
guilty on four counts of telephone harassment, four counts of
impersonating a peace officer, and one count of ...