Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Christopher M. Kelley.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Lon'Cherie' Billingsley
Assistant County Prosecutor.
BEFORE: Boyle, J., Keough, A.J., and Stewart, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, J.
Defendant-appellant, Matthew Cantrall, appeals his
convictions. He raises one assignment of error for our
The trial court erred in finding that the appellant failed to
establish the affirmative defense of not guilty by reason of
Finding no merit to his appeal, we affirm.
Procedural History and Facts
In August 2015, Cantrall was indicted on four counts: two
counts of fifth-degree felony vandalism in violation of R.C.
2909.05(A) and 2909.05(B)(1)(b), one count of fourth-degree
felony vandalism in violation of R.C. 2909.05(B)(1)(a), with
a furthermore specification that the value of property
damaged was between $7, 000 and $150, 000, and one count of
obstructing official business in violation of R.C.
2921.31(A), a misdemeanor of the second degree.
On September 16, 2015, Cantrall requested a referral to the
court's psychiatric clinic to be evaluated for competency
to stand trial and insanity at the time of the act. He was
evaluated by Dr. Ludna Grewal. Dr. Grewal found that Cantrall
was competent to stand trial and sane at the time of the act.
Cantrall later requested an independent psychological
evaluation. He was evaluated by Dr. John Fabian in early
December 2015. Dr. Fabian found that Cantrall did not know
the wrongfulness of his acts because he suffered from a
severe mental disease at the time of the act.
Cantrall waived his right to a jury trial, and the case
proceeded to the bench, where the following facts were
In July 2015, Cantrall lived in a house that he rented from
Ralph Saker. Saker lived next door to Cantrall. Cantrall had
rented from Saker since January 2014, without any problems.
But in July 2015, Saker testified that Cantrall began spray
painting the outside of the house that he rented from Saker.
Saker said that Cantrall painted "Satan and Jihad, 666,
Satan, devil" on the front, back, and both sides of the
house. Saker told Cantrall to stop spray painting the house,
but Cantrall refused.
Saker identified photos that were taken of his rental
property that showed where Cantrall spray painted it. Saker
said that Cantrall further damaged bushes and trees at the
home, and placed strange signs in the yard that did not make
sense, including "you see what happens when you mess
with * * * warriors" and "nursing home fema camp
curse." Cantrall painted "wishing you into
cartoonland, 666, satan" on the garage. Cantrall also
hung dolls with no heads from a tree. Saker further testified
that Cantrall damaged things inside the home as well. Saker
said that at one time, Cantrall thought he owned the home
that he was renting from Saker. Saker called the police
several times regarding these incidents.
On cross-examination, Saker stated that Mobile Crisis came to
Cantrall's home a few times, including on July 10 and
July 12, 2015, and that Cantrall was removed by the health
squad on July 13. Saker agreed that he called Cantrall's
mother on July 10, 2015, and told her that he was concerned
about Cantrall's health and safety. Saker agreed that
Cantrall was "taken away" by Mobile Crisis or the
"help squad" several times, including on July 24,
2015, when Saker told him to quit spray painting the home.
Cantrall was removed by police on July 28. Saker also agreed
that Cantrall would see the police and run back into the
Police responded to Cantrall's home several times in July
2015. One time, police received calls that Cantrall was
threatening his neighbors with a knife. When police arrived,
Cantrall ran into his home. Police tricked him by acting like
they left, and Cantrall came out of his house. Police took
custody of him, and took him to the hospital for a mental
On July 28, 2015, someone called police again because
Cantrall was threatening neighbors with a knife. When police
arrived, Cantrall ran into his house and would not come out.
Cantrall told police, "I plead the Fifth." Police
were trying to remove Cantrall from his home so that they
could take him to the hospital. The SWAT team eventually
removed Cantrall from his rental home.
At the close of the state's case, Cantrall moved for a
Crim.R. 29(A) acquittal, which the trial court granted as to
the fourth-degree vandalism charge under R.C.
2909.05(B)(1)(b) (damaged property was necessary for the
owner or possessor of the property to engage in the
owner's or possessor's profession, business, trade,
or occupation). The trial court denied it as to the remaining
counts: two fifth-degree vandalism charges and obstructing
Dr. John Fabian testified on behalf of Cantrall. He explained
that he examined Cantrall and interviewed him "for quite
some time" about his background, including his mental
health history, psychiatric symptoms, criminal history, and
the nature of the current criminal case.
Dr. Fabian also administered psychological tests, including
the adult autism/Asperger's assessment, and a Personality
Assessment Inventory to assess Cantrall's mental health
Dr. Fabian found that Cantrall did "endorse substantial
symptoms related to an autism spectrum disorder." Dr.
Fabian explained that people on the autism spectrum have
issues with communication, language skills, emotional
reciprocity, and obsessive behaviors. Dr. Fabian stated that
it was "important" to know this finding because
autism is known to be a precursor to schizophrenia, which he
stated there is "no question [Cantrall] has that
As for the results of the Personality Assessment Inventory,
Dr. Fabian testified that "there was evidence of
exaggeration." He explained that
"exaggeration" did not mean that Cantrall was
"malingering, " but that he was "cry[ing] for
help." Dr. Fabian stated that the "bottom
line" was that Cantrall was "mentally ill but
he's exaggerating some of [it]." Dr. Fabian
testified that overall, there was evidence of Cantrall's
paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, abnormal thinking,
disorganized thinking, depression, and problems with
concentration, sadness, and hopelessness. There was also
evidence that Cantrall experienced anxiety, depression,
impulsivity, and distrust.
Dr. Fabian diagnosed Cantrall with being on the "autism
spectrum and now schizophrenia, " as well as
"multi-schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type." Dr.
Fabian explained that in making his assessment, he relied on
Cantrall's medical records from St. Vincent Hospital
around the time of the offense, which he found to be
"germane" to understanding Cantrall's mental
state at the time of the offense.
Dr. Fabian testified that on July 14 and 24, 2015, Cantrall
was hospitalized for psychiatric reasons at St. Vincent
Hospital. He stated that these records show that Cantrall had
symptoms of psychosis on those dates. Cantrall was also
having grandiose and delusional thoughts on those dates.
Around this time, Cantrall was spray painting the house that
he rented from Saker with demonic symbols. He was also
psychotic, manic, delusional, and overall disorganized in his
thinking. Cantrall reported that he was practicing witchcraft
and was a magician. Dr. Fabian stated that these hospital
records show that Cantrall's actions were consistent with
a manic psychotic episode.
Dr. Fabian explained what schizoaffective disorder meant. He
said that the "schizo" represents schizophrenia,
which means that the person experiences loss of contact with
reality, hearing voices, and having delusions. He said the
"affective" part was secondary, and explained
"that would be the bipolar mania." Dr. Fabian
stated that ...