Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT James J. Hofelich
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Ronni Ducoff Ashley B. Kilbane
Assistant County Prosecutors
BEFORE: Boyle, J., E.T. Gallagher, P.J., and Laster Mays, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
J. BOYLE, J.
The defendant-appellant, Ennis Patterson, appeals his
convictions. He raises two assignments of error for our
1. Appellant's convictions were against the manifest
weight of the evidence.
2.Appellant was denied his right to effective assistance of
Finding no merit to his appeal, we affirm.
Procedural History and Factual Background
The Cuyahoga County Grand Jury indicted Patterson for one
count of gross sexual imposition, with a sexually violent
predator specification, and one count of kidnapping, with a
sexual motivation specification and a sexually violent
predator specification. Police arrested Patterson on May 26,
2016, following a report that he molested an eight-year-old
child, D.D., while babysitting him on April 16, 2016.
Patterson pleaded not guilty to both counts and elected for a
bench trial, where the following evidence was presented.
On May 25, 2016, D.N. was babysitting B.T.'s and
Z.T.'s children at B.T.'s house. D.N. testified that,
as he was cooking dinner, he overheard D.D., one of
B.T.'s children, discussing sexually explicit things with
another child. Alarmed, D.N. demanded to know what D.D. was
talking about. D.D. told D.N. that Patterson had touched his
private parts while babysitting D.D., C.J., and a number of
other children at B.T.'s house on April 16, 2016.
D.N. testified that he immediately tried calling D.D.'s
grandmother, C.T., who actually showed up at the house a few
moments later. After D.N. told C.T. what D.D. said, C.T.
testified that she spoke to D.D., who repeated the story he
told to D.N. Becoming extremely upset, C.T. walked over to
Patterson's mother's house, where Patterson was
staying. After having her knocks go unanswered, C.T.
testified that she called B.T. and Z.T., telling them to come
to B.T.'s house immediately.
C.T. testified that while she and D.N. waited for B.T. and
Z.T. to arrive, she called and spoke to M.S., her cousin, on
the phone asking her to come to the house. Around the same
time, B.T.'s cousin, M.J., happened to stop by the house,
during which time she also spoke to D.D. and learned about
the allegations against Patterson.
Once B.T. and Z.T. arrived and learned what was going on,
Z.T. spoke to D.D. and became enraged. Z.T. and C.T.
testified that the adults discussed whether to call the
police or go get Patterson themselves. C.T. testified that
amidst this discussion, she independently decided to call the
C.T. testified that the first police department she was able
to successfully contact was the Cleveland Metropolitan
Housing Authority ("CMHA"). Dispatched to the scene
for a report of unattended children, CMHA Officer Dustin
Kubiak testified that he arrived to discover that the report
actually concerned a sexual offense against a child.
Following protocol, Officer Kubiak alerted the Cleveland
Police Department ("CPD"), which handles sexual
offenses. While waiting for the CPD to arrive, Officer Kubiak
testified that he spoke with C.T. and one of the aunts on
scene and, based on those conversations, went across the
street to Patterson's mother's house and requested
that Patterson come outside. While Officer Kubiak detained
Patterson and escorted him to his patrol car, C.T. testified
that Patterson looked at her and said, "I told them to
tell those kids to leave me alone."
Eventually, CPD arrived on the scene, took statements from
most of the adults present, and placed Patterson under
arrest. CPD was unable to take an initial statement from
D.D., who was sleeping at the time. CPD subsequently
transferred Patterson to jail.
Over the next two days, police interviewed Patterson twice,
thoroughly questioning him about his involvement with B.T.,
Z.T., and their children and the allegations against him. At
the beginning of both interviews, Patterson signed a form
waiving his Miranda rights and spoke freely to
detectives during most of the two interviews. At some point
during the second interview, Patterson expressed that he
wanted to speak to an attorney. Despite Patterson's
request, the detectives continued to ask Patterson questions,
which he continued to answer. Patterson's trial counsel
did not file a motion to suppress any statements made during
Prior to trial, the trial court held a competency hearing for
both D.D. and C.J., who were allegedly in the room when
Patterson touched D.D. and is the daughter of M.J. The court
found both children to be competent.
At trial, the state called D.N., C.T., M.S., and Z.T., who
all recounted fairly consistent versions of the events
described above. Specifically, they all testified that when
they individually spoke to D.D., his accounts to each of them
were consistent. The state also called D.D. to testify. D.D.
testified that on April 16, 2016, he was watching a movie
with his cousins at B.T.'s house when Patterson entered
the room naked. According to D.D., Patterson removed
D.D.'s shirt and shorts and then squeezed his private
parts. D.D. also testified that later that evening, he awoke
to find Patterson threatening him with an extension cord and
telling him not to tell anyone what happened. The state
additionally called Officer Kubiak from CMHA, Officer Hess
from CPD, and Detective Vowell from CPD's Sex Crimes and
Child Abuse Unit. Those witnesses corroborated the events on
May 25-26, 2016, and Detective Vowell discussed his
interviews with Patterson subsequent to his arrest.
Patterson's trial counsel thoroughly cross-examined the
state's witnesses, but did not call any witnesses on
behalf of Patterson. C.J. was not called to testify by either
the state or Patterson.
The trial court found Patterson guilty on both counts in the
indictment and sentenced him to 20 years to life in prison,
ordered him to pay the costs and expenses of the case, and
found him to be a Tier III sex offender/child ...