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State v. Hitchcock

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Fairfield

October 19, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
JEFFREY HITCHCOCK Defendant-Appellant

         Appeal from the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2016 CR 00275

          For Plaintiff-Appellee R. KYLE WITT DARREN L. MEADE Fairfield County Prosecuting Attorney JOSHUA S. HORACEK Columbus, Ohio 43235 Assistant Prosecuting Attorney

          For Defendant-Appellant Parks and Meade, LLC

          Hon. William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J. Hon. Earle E. Wise, Jr., J.

          OPINION

          HOFFMAN, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Jeffrey Hitchcock appeals the judgment entered by the Fairfield County Common Pleas Court convicting him of three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (R.C. 2907.04(A), (B)(3)) following his plea of guilty and sentencing him to two sixty-month terms of incarceration and one term of five years community control, to be served consecutively. Plaintiff-appellee is the state of Ohio.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} Appellant engaged in a sexual relationship with a girl in his neighborhood who was twenty-six years younger than he. The victim would often babysit for Appellant's minor child. The sexual relationship began when the victim was thirteen years old and continued until she was fifteen years old.

         {¶3} When the victim was fifteen years of age, she delivered a still-born baby at the Fairfield Medical Center. Although she had been unaware of her pregnancy until this time, she identified Appellant as the father. Authorities performed DNA testing of the baby, which matched Appellant's DNA. When police searched for Appellant, they found he had vacated his home across the street from the victim, taking his belongings with him. Police found Appellant in Kentucky.

         {¶4} Appellant admitted to engaging in sexual conduct with the victim, and submitted to an additional DNA test which reaffirmed he was the father of the still-born child.

         {¶5} Appellant was indicted by the Fairfield County Grand Jury with four counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in violation of R.C. 2907.04(A) and (B)(3), all felonies of the third degree, and endangering children in violation of R.C. 2919.22(A), a misdemeanor of the first degree.

         {¶6} On September 20, 2016, Appellant pled guilty to three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and the remaining charges were dismissed. He was sentenced to sixty months incarceration on Count One of the indictment, sixty months incarceration on Count Two of the indictment, and five years community control on Count Three of the indictment, with all sentences to be served consecutively. The community control sentence included nonresidential sanctions as well as an evaluation for placement in a Community Based Correction Facility (CBCF), with admission to be decided by the court at a later date.

         {¶7} Appellant prosecutes this appeal from the judgment of conviction and sentence of the Fairfield County Common Pleas Court, assigning the following as error:

I. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN SENTENCING APPELLANT TO A TERM OF COMMUNITY CONTROL CONSECUTIVE TO AN IMPOSED TERM OF PRISON.
II. THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN SENTENCING APPELLANT TO THE MAXIMUM SENTENCES AND TO CONSECUTIVE TERMS OF INCARCERATION WHEN THE SENTENCES ARE NOT SUPPORTED IN THE RECORD.

         I.

         {¶8} In his first assignment of error, Appellant argues the court erred in sentencing him to a term of community control consecutive to his prison terms. We disagree.

         {¶9} Appellant argues his sentence is not authorized by R.C. 2929.41:

(A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, division (C) of section 2929.14, or division (D) or (E) of section 2971.03 of the Revised Code, a prison term, jail term, or sentence of imprisonment shall be served concurrently with any other prison term, jail term, or sentence of imprisonment imposed by a court of this state, another state, or the United States. Except as provided in division (B)(3) of this section, a jail term or sentence of imprisonment for misdemeanor shall be served ...

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