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State v. Pearce

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Ashland

October 30, 2017

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
GREGORY A. PEARCE Defendant-Appellant

         Criminal appeal from the Ashland County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 15-CRI-068

          For Plaintiff-Appellee CHRISTOPHER TUNNELL VICTOR PEREZ

          For Defendant-Appellant MATTHEW MALONE

          Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, P.J. Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J. Hon. William B. Hoffman, J.

          OPINION

          Gwin, J.

         {¶1} Appellant Gregory A. Pearce ["Pearce"] appeals his conviction and sentence after a jury trial in the Ashland County Court of Common Pleas for one count of domestic violence in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A), a felony of the third degree due to two prior convictions for domestic violence.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} LaShell Cordwell met Pearce through social media. Shortly after meeting him, she and two of her children moved to Pearce's home. This was a romantic relationship, and they shared household expenses.

         {¶3} On April 11, 2015, Pearce and Cordwell were drinking alcohol before going to their friend David Hazelton's house located at 240 State Route 604, in Polk, Ashland County, Ohio. While at Hazelton's house, the couple consumed more alcohol. Cordwell admitted smoking marihuana. When the couple decided to go home, Cordwell believed that Pearce was too drunk to drive. Cordwell testified, "I got in the driver's seat and I was going to drive home... He wanted to drive so he hit me in the nose and I got in the passenger's seat and we went home." 1T. at 32. She then testified that she "started bleeding on the lips." Id. Upon arriving home, located at 107 West Congress Street, Ashland, Ohio, Cordwell was able to slip away. She walked to the Polk Market and Deli where she told an employee at the store that Pearce hit her. Cordwell used the store's telephone to call her mother. Cordwell's brother, Curtis Stackhouse, called the police.

         {¶4} Hazelton's recollection of the events that transpired that evening differed from Cordwell's recollection. Hazelton recalled that he did not see Pearce strike Cordwell. Rather, the couple argued and it was decided that Pearce would drive the car. The couple returned a short time after leaving to look for a missing cell phone. At this time, approximately five minutes after they had initially left, Hazelton noticed blood on Cordwell's face. (1T. at 93).

         {¶5} Curtis Stackhouse testified that on April 11, 2015, Cordwell did not tell him any details concerning her altercation with Pearce. 1T. at 105. However, he further testified without objection that he had spoken to Cordwell since that time and she related that Pearce backhanded her in the nose during the time that the couple was in the car in route to their home. 1T. at 106.

         {¶6} Deputy Kyle Pigeon of the Ashland County Sheriffs Office testified that he had responded to 107 West Congress St. in Polk where Pearce was refusing to come out of his home. He further testified that Polk is in Ashland County, Ohio. Deputy Pigeon testified that State Route 604, where Mr. Hazelton lived, is the county line between Ashland and Wayne counties. 1T. at 141.

         {¶7} At the close of the State's case, Pearce moved the trial court for an acquittal pursuant to Crim. R. 29 alleging that venue had not been proven. 1T. at 144. The trial court overruled that motion after taking it under advisement and researching the issue. 2T. at 161.

         {¶8} The jury convicted Pearce of domestic violence and further found that he had been convicted of ...


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