Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas No.
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Scott
Heenan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
W. Kirk, for Defendant-Appellant.
Defendant-appellant Steve Pitts appeals his sentences for one
count of aggravated murder, attempted murder, aggravated
burglary, and kidnapping. Raising three assignments of error,
Pitts argues that the trial court did not consider the
purposes and principles of felony sentencing, did not
properly notify him of postrelease control, and failed to
merge his convictions for allied offenses. We affirm the
trial court's judgment.
and Procedural Background
In 2005, Pitts pleaded guilty to aggravated murder, attempted
murder, aggravated burglary, and kidnapping. He was sentenced
to a jointly-recommended sentence of life in prison with the
possibility of parole after 20 years on the aggravated-murder
conviction, and ten years on each of the other offenses, all
to run concurrently, for an aggregate sentence of life
without parole for 20 years. Pitts did not appeal the
judgment of conviction.
In 2015, Pitts filed a pro se motion for a resentencing
hearing because the court did not impose postrelease control
on the attempted murder, aggravated burglary, or kidnapping
convictions. Pitts also filed a pro se sentencing memorandum
arguing that all of his offenses were allied offenses that
should be merged at the resentencing hearing.
The trial court appointed counsel to represent Pitts and
conducted a hearing to notify Pitts that he is required to
serve a mandatory term of five years of postrelease control
upon his release from prison. At the hearing, Pitts again
argued that he was improperly sentenced because the
aggravated murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and
aggravated burglary were allied offenses of similar import
that could not be separately punished. The trial court did
not address the merger issue because the resentencing was
solely for the purpose of imposing postrelease control. The
court explained that it did not have jurisdiction to
resentence Pitts on the other convictions.
The court proceeded to resentence Pitts to the same agreed
sentence and advised Pitts that he would be subject to a
mandatory five years of postrelease control upon his release
For ease of discussion, we address his assignments of error
out of order. In his second assignment of error, Pitts argues
that the sentencing court did not properly notify him of
postrelease control at the resentencing hearing. However,
Pitts does not specifically point out in the record this
alleged error and concedes that the notification was proper.
Consequently, we overrule this assignment of error.
In his first assignment of error, Pitts argues that the
sentencing court failed to consider the purposes and
principles of felony sentencing as set forth in R.C. 2929.11
and 2929.12 when imposing an excessive prison term that was
unsupported by the record. Pitts further contends the
sentencing court failed to make the statutory findings at the
The trial court conducted the hearing in order to properly
advise Pitts of the mandatory postrelease control as part of
his sentence. The resentencing was limited to the
"proper imposition of postrelease control."
State v. Fischer,128 Ohio St.3d 92, 2010-Ohio-6238,
942 N.E.2d 332, ¶ 27. Accordingly, Pitts was only
entitled to be resentenced on the ...