from Allen County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR2016
Kenneth J. Rexford for Appellant
E. Emerick for Appellee
Defendant-appellant, Jeremy Pryor ("Pryor"), brings
this appeal from the April 13, 2017, judgment of the Allen
County Common Pleas Court sentencing Pryor to an aggregate
10-year prison term after he was convicted by a jury of two
counts of Complicity to Felonious Assault in violation of
R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), both felonies of the second degree and
both containing firearm specifications pursuant to R.C.
2941.145(A), one count of Complicity to Aggravated Robbery in
violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1), a felony of the first
degree, also containing a firearm specification pursuant to
R.C. 2941.145(A), and one count of Carrying a Concealed
Weapon in violation of R.C. 2923.12(A)(2), a felony of the
fourth degree. On appeal, Pryor argues that his convictions
were not supported by sufficient evidence, that the
convictions were against the manifest weight of the evidence,
that he received ineffective assistance of counsel, that the
trial court failed to properly instruct the jury, that the
trial court erred by failing to merge certain counts for the
purposes of sentencing, and that the trial court erred in
imposing consecutive sentences.
On December 15, 2016, Pryor was indicted for two counts of
Felonious Assault in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2), both
felonies of the second degree and both containing firearm
specifications, two counts of Aggravated Robbery in violation
of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1), both felonies of the first degree and
both containing firearm specifications, and one count of
Carrying a Concealed Weapon in violation of R.C.
2923.12(A)(2), a felony of the fourth degree. Pryor pled not
guilty to the charges.
On February 7-8, 2017, Pryor's case proceeded to a jury
trial. Just prior to the beginning of the trial, the State
dismissed one of the Aggravated Robbery counts against Pryor.
The trial proceeded on the remaining counts, with the State
calling 10 witnesses and entering multiple exhibits into
evidence including surveillance video of the incident. The
State argued that Pryor was guilty of the Felonious Assaults
and the Aggravated Robbery under a Complicity theory for
either soliciting or aiding and abetting Brandon Bolden in
committing the offenses. Pryor then presented his
case-in-chief, testifying on his own behalf as the sole
witness for the defense. Ultimately the jury found Pryor
guilty of all four of the remaining counts against him.
On April 13, 2017, a sentencing hearing was held. Pryor was
ordered to serve 2 years in prison on each of the Felonious
Assault convictions, consecutive to each other, and 3 years
in prison on each of the firearm specifications, consecutive
to each other, and consecutive to the prison terms from the
Felonious Assault convictions. Pryor was also ordered to
serve 3 years in prison on the Aggravated Robbery conviction
and 12 months in prison on the Carrying a Concealed Weapon
conviction; however, both of those prison terms were ordered
to be served concurrent to the remaining charges. A judgment
entry memorializing Pryor's sentence was filed the same
day of the sentencing hearing.
It is from this judgment that Pryor appeals, asserting the
following assignments of error for our review.
Assignment of Error No. 1 The conviction for Carrying a
Concealed Weapon was not supported by sufficient evidence.
Assignment of Error No. 2 The conviction for Carrying a
Concealed Weapon was against the manifest weight of the
Assignment of Error No. 3 The Trial Court erred and denied to
Mr. Pryor his right to a fair trial by jury by not properly
instructing the jury as to complicity.
Assignment of Error No. 4 The complicity convictions were not
supported by sufficient evidence.
Assignment of Error No. 5 The complicity convictions were
against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Assignment of Error No. 6 Mr. Pryor was denied the effective
assistance of counsel.
Assignment of Error No. 7 The trial Court erred in denying
the defense motion to merge Counts I and II with Count III.
Assignment of Error No. 8 The Trial Court erred in imposing
consecutive sentences as to Counts I and II.
We elect to address some of the assignments of error
together, and out of the order in which they were raised.
Second, Fourth, and Fifth Assignments of Error
In his first and fourth assignments of error, Pryor argues
that there was insufficient evidence presented to convict him
of both counts of Complicity to Felonious Assault, of
Complicity to Aggravated Robbery, and of Carrying a Concealed
Weapon. In his second and fifth assignments of error, Pryor
argues that even if his convictions were supported by
sufficient evidence, they were against the manifest weight of
Whether there is legally sufficient evidence to sustain a
verdict is a question of law. State v. Thompkins, 78
Ohio St.3d 380, 386 (1997). Sufficiency is a test of
adequacy. Id. When an appellate court reviews a
record upon a sufficiency challenge, " 'the relevant
inquiry is whether, after viewing the evidence in a light
most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact
could have found the essential elements of the crime proven
beyond a reasonable doubt.' " State v.
Leonard, 104 Ohio St.3d 54, 2004-Ohio-6235, ¶ 77,
quoting State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1991),
paragraph two of the syllabus.
By contrast, in reviewing whether a verdict was against the
manifest weight of the evidence, the appellate court sits as
a "thirteenth juror" and examines the conflicting
testimony. Thompkins at 387. In doing so, this Court
must review the entire record, weigh the evidence and all of
the reasonable inferences, consider the credibility of
witnesses and determine whether in resolving conflicts in the
evidence, the factfinder "clearly lost its way and
created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that the
conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered."
Id. Furthermore, "[t]o reverse a judgment of a
trial court on the weight of the evidence, when the judgment
results from a trial by jury, a unanimous concurrence of all
three judges on the court of appeals panel reviewing the case
is required." Thompkins at paragraph 4 of the
syllabus, citing Ohio Constitution, Article IV, Section
At trial, the State presented the testimony of Javionte
Gilcrease and Devante Neal who were shot in the early
afternoon hours of January 1, 2016, as they were walking home
from a nearby gas station. Gilcrease and Neal had gone to the
gas station to purchase tobacco products.
Three men-Pryor, Brandon Bolden, and Alundrous Sanders-left
the gas station together on foot shortly before Gilcrease and
Neal. Gilcrease testified that as he and Neal were coming up
behind the three men, the three men slowed down. Gilcrease
indicated that he saw Pryor-whom he did not know at the time
but identified at trial-hand a gun to a man later identified
as Brandon Bolden. Bolden then immediately approached
Gilcrease and Neal, pointed the gun at them, and told them to
empty their pockets. Gilcrease told Bolden he did not have
anything, and Bolden said "Do you think I'm
playing?" and then shot Gilcrease in the leg. (Feb. 7,
2017, Tr. at 161).
When Bolden shot Gilcrease, Neal started to run in the
opposite direction. Bolden fired several shots at Neal,
striking him in the leg as well. Neal was able to make it to
a nearby residence to get help.
While Gilcrease was on the ground after being shot in the
leg, Bolden stepped over him and took his cell phone, then
ran off. Pryor and Sanders had started to run toward
Sanders's residence when Bolden began shooting. Gilcrease
and Neal were both taken to the hospital and treated for
Officers responded to the area and learned from a witness on
the street that three black males had been observed running
from the scene to a house at 821 Madison in Lima, which was
approximately two blocks from the gas station. Officers were
let into the residence by the owner, Kimberly Van Meter. When
the officers entered the residence, Pryor was coming upstairs
from the basement. Pryor was detained at that time and as
officers checked the basement they found a handgun in plain
view partially hidden under a rock. The handgun was loaded,
had a round in the chamber and seven bullets in the magazine.
Officers noticed that there were muddy boot prints that led
from the basement where the gun was found to the chair where
police had Pryor take a seat. Pryor was wearing muddy shoes
at the time.
Officers located seven spent shell casings from the scene of
the shooting. BCI determined that the casings had been fired
from the gun that had been located in the basement of 821
Madison. Further testing revealed the handgun's serial
number, which had been scratched off on the surface. The
serial number was then checked and it was learned that Pryor
was the registered owner of the firearm, having purchased it
from MC Sports in Lima in May of 2015.
Bolden, the shooter, was located in the alley behind the
residence at 821 Madison. After he was detained,
Gilcrease's cell phone was found in Bolden's pocket.
Surveillance footage from the gas station was entered into
evidence and played for the jury. It showed Bolden, Pryor and
Sanders walking to the gas station, going inside, and then
making a purchase. From the interior surveillance video a
Lima Police detective was able to readily identify Pryor and
Bolden from prior dealings. After the business at the gas
station was complete, the three spoke with a man outside for
a short time, then began walking off.
The surveillance footage showed Gilcrease and Neal walk up to
the gas station, then exit the gas station. It then showed
Gilcrease and Neal walking in the same direction as Bolden,
Pryor and Sanders. It also showed Pryor moving close to
Bolden shortly before Bolden approached Gilcrease and Neal.
Pryor handing Bolden a gun cannot clearly be seen in the
video due to the distance from the surveillance camera, but
the two were momentarily close together and Gilcrease
testified that he saw Pryor give Bolden the handgun that was
used in the shooting. Gilcrease identified the moment on the
video where he saw the transfer.
After the State rested its case, Pryor took the stand in his
own defense. Pryor testified that he had originally purchased
the firearm in question but the firearm went missing sometime
in late 2015 prior to the shooting. Pryor testified that he
did not give the gun to Bolden, that he did not in any manner
support or encourage Bolden to commit a robbery, let alone
shoot anyone, and that when Bolden started shooting he
of the Evidence
On appeal, in his first and fourth assignments of error,
Pryor argues that the State presented insufficient evidence
to convict him of Complicity to Felonious Assault of both
Gilcrease and Neal, that the State presented insufficient
evidence to convict him of Complicity to Aggravated Robbery
of Gilcrease, and that the State presented insufficient
evidence to convict him of Carrying a Concealed Weapon.
As argued in this case, Complicity is codified in R.C.
2923.03, which reads,
(A) No person, acting with the kind of culpability required
for the commission of an offense, shall do any of the
(1) Solicit or procure another to commit the ...