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State v Jones

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Belmont

December 15, 2017

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
ANTONIO DONTA JONES DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

         CHARACTER OF PROCEEDINGS Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Belmont County, Ohio Case No. 16 CR 3

          For Plaintiff-Appellee: Atty. Daniel P. Fry Belmont County Prosecutor

          For Defendant-Appellant: Atty. Anthony J. Farris 860 Boardman-Canfield Rd., Antonio Donta Jones, Pro se Noble Correctional Institution

          Hon. Cheryl L. Waite, Mary DeGenaro, Carol Ann Robb

          OPINION

          WAITE, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Appellant Antonio Donta Jones appeals a September 22, 2016 Mahoning County Common Pleas Court decision finding him guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Appellant's counsel filed a no merit brief requesting leave to withdraw. A complete review of the case reveals no potentially meritorious issues. Accordingly, appointed counsel's motion to withdraw is granted and the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         Factual and Procedural History

         {¶2} This case stems from an incident that occurred on November 19, 2015. Appellant and his codefendants entered an apartment in an attempt to locate the victim in this case. However, the men entered the wrong apartment before realizing their mistake. They eventually found the victim's apartment and Appellant physically confronted the victim. The encounter escalated, and one of Appellant's codefendants shot and killed the victim. Appellant fled separately from his codefendants.

         {¶3} On April 21, 2016, Appellant was indicted on one count of aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01 (A), one count of aggravated murder in violation of R.C. 2903.01(B), and two counts of aggravated burglary, a felony of the first degree in violation of R.C. 2911.11(A)(2). One of the burglary counts arose from the entrance into the first apartment and the second from the entrance into the victim's apartment.

         {¶4} On August 16, 2016, Appellant entered an Alford plea in accordance with North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25, 91 S.Ct. 160, 27 L.Ed.2d 162 (1970). In accordance with the plea agreement, all four counts in the indictment were amended into a sole charge of involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree in violation of R.C. 2903.04(A). The state agreed to stand silent at sentencing.

         {¶5} On September 19, 2016, the trial court held a sentencing hearing where the court sentenced Appellant to ten years of incarceration. The trial court also imposed a mandatory postrelease control period of five years. This timely appeal followed.

         No Merit Brief

         {¶6} Based on a review of this matter, appellate counsel seeks to withdraw after finding no potentially meritorious arguments for appeal. This filing is known as a no merit brief or an Anders brief. See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.E.2d 493 (1967). In this district, it is referred to as a Toney brief. See State v. Toney, 23 Ohio App.2d 203, 262 N.E.2d 419 (7th Dist.1970).

         {¶7} In Toney, we established the procedure to be used when appellate counsel wishes to withdraw from ...


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