Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO.
T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Scott M.
Heenan, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for
Arenstein & Gallagher, William R. Gallagher and Elizabeth
Conklin, for Defendant-Appellant.
Defendant-appellant Anthony Love appeals his convictions for
felonious assault. In five assignments of error, he argues
that the trial court's failure to give the jury
instructions required by law resulted in plain error; that
the trial court erred in admitting irrelevant evidence and
prejudicial testimony about his motorcycle-club affiliation;
that his convictions were not supported by sufficient
evidence; that his convictions were against the manifest
weight of the evidence; and that the cumulative effect of
defense counsel's errors violated his right to the
effective assistance of counsel.
Because the trial court failed to instruct the jury on how to
apply any finding on Love's asserted affirmative defense
of defense of others, we must reverse the trial court's
judgment and remand the cause for a new trial.
Love was involved in a street fight that took place in Mt.
Adams, and was subsequently charged with six counts of
felonious assault relating to three separate victims, Carlos
Liranzo, Luke Thibodeaus, and Josea Hernandez. He was tried
before a jury with his codefendant, Alexander Mazzaro. The
following evidence was adduced at trial.
On the evening of September 25, 2015, Liranzo, Thibodeaus,
and Hernandez had been out together in Mt. Adams. After
leaving a bar around 2:15 a.m. on September 26, the group
walked down a street to find a cab. Love, Mazzaro, and a
third man, Michael Sansone, approached them on the street
from the opposite direction. As the groups passed each other,
Mazzaro brushed shoulders with Thibodeaus, causing Thibodeaus
to be turned around. From there, a conflict ensued.
Sensing trouble, Liranzo told the entire group that everyone
should relax. Mazzaro then punched Liranzo in the face. In
response, Liranzo took Mazzaro to the ground and pinned him
there. Liranzo and Mazzaro traded punches from that position.
While straddling Mazzaro, Liranzo felt a blow to his back. In
addition to that blow, he testified that someone tried to
"fishhook" him while he had Mazzaro pinned down. He
explained that an individual stuck a finger in his mouth, and
that he bit down on the finger and took out a chunk of the
person's skin. Liranzo remained on top of Mazzaro until
police arrived to break up the fight and threatened to tase
him if he did not stand up. Upon standing, he noticed blood
running down his back and discovered that he had been
While Liranzo and Mazzaro were fighting, Thibodeaus saw Love
approach Hernandez as Hernandez attempted to back away. He
then saw Love take a few steps back, put his hand in his
pocket, and lunge at Liranzo. He did not see what Love had
taken out of his pocket. Thibodeaus attempted to push Love
off Liranzo, and he felt what he described as "a punch
there in my chest." He later realized that he had been
stabbed in the chest. He was bleeding and could see a gap in
his chest where muscle was protruding.
Michael Sansone was called by the prosecution to testify and
was declared a hostile witness. While testifying, Sansone
admitted that he had told a detective that after the street
fight had ended, Love had stated to him, "I stuck that
guy because I thought he had you." Sansone testified
that he had attempted to pull Liranzo off Mazzaro because
Liranzo was out of control and it looked like Mazzaro was
getting "his butt kicked." Sansone denied that he
had deliberately put his finger in Liranzo's mouth to
"fishhook" him, and explained that he had tried to
grab Liranzo's head and Liranzo had bitten his finger.
Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Andrew Heyob had been working an
off-duty uniformed detail in Mt. Adams on the evening of
September 25, and had responded to the street fight. When he
arrived on the scene, Lieutenant Heyob saw Love standing over
two individuals grappling on the ground. Love was striking
the person on top with his fists and kicking at him.
Liranzo and Thibodeaus were transported to the hospital.
Liranzo suffered a stab wound to his back with complications.
He remained hospitalized for three days and had to have a
tube placed in his lung to drain ...