FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE WAYNE COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT
COUNTY OF WAYNE, OHIO CASE No. 2016 CR-B 000001
APPEARANCES: TODD E. CHEEK, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
R. LUTZ, Prosecuting Attorney, and ANDREA D. UHLER, Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
J. CARR JUDGE
Defendant-Appellant Delbert Horton appeals from the judgment
of the Wayne County Municipal Court. This Court affirms.
In January 2016, a complaint was filed against Horton
alleging that he committed domestic violence by causing or
attempting to cause physical harm to his wife in violation of
The matter proceeded to a jury trial at which both Horton and
his wife testified. Horton's wife testified that on
January 3, 2016, in the evening, Horton came home, grabbed a
water bottle from her, and accused her of drinking alcohol.
The bottle did have vodka in it, and Horton's wife
acknowledged that she had an alcohol problem. Horton was very
angry and yelled at their children, who were playing nearby,
to go to their rooms. The Horton's adopted daughter
testified that, while she did not see anything that happened,
she heard Horton yelling, but did not hear her mother,
Horton's wife, yelling.
Horton continued to yell and push his wife. Hortons' wife
got up and started moving towards the stairs and Horton
continued to yell at her and push her. According to
Horton's wife, she "kind of stumbled" down the
first set of stairs to a landing in an attempt to get away
from him. They continued arguing and Horton pushed her down
the second set of stairs and she landed on her back at the
bottom of the stairs. Horton "stood over top of [his
wife] and continued to yell at [her] and kick and punch and
step on [her]." He stepped on her legs and side. She did
not quite remember getting up but remembered going into the
garage and Horton following her. Horton continued berating
her and she could not figure out how to get him to stop, so
she grabbed some nearby firewood and started throwing it at
him. She did not think she hit him. She also grabbed a bed
post and swung it at him. She did not think she made contact
but Horton claimed that she did. Horton then opened the
garage door, got into his vehicle, and left. Horton's
wife denied hitting or pushing Horton and instead maintained
that she was only trying to get away from him. Horton's
wife had cuts along her arms and bruises on her legs and
side. Photographs were submitted into evidence demonstrating
her injuries. Horton's wife identified blood on the walls
in some of the photographs as being her own blood.
Ten to fifteen minutes after the assault, Horton's
wife's daughter N.W. arrived at the house to visit her
mother. Horton's wife was still crying. She told N.W.
that Horton "beat the crap out of [her]." N.W.
called 911. Deputy Adam Bupp of the Wayne County Sheriffs
Office responded to the call. Deputy Bupp testified that
Horton's wife was visibly shaking and crying when he
arrived on the scene. He immediately noticed the blood on her
arms. Horton's wife reported being in pain all over and
that she was sore. Deputy Bupp opined that Horton's wife
had a slight odor of alcohol about her but did not appear to
be impaired. Horton's wife told Deputy Bupp that Horton
had injured her during a physical altercation. Deputy Bupp
stated that, in his experience, Horton's wife's
injuries looked like she was grabbed by her arms or hit.
Deputy Bupp took photographs of Horton's wife's
injuries and the home. He testified that the blood on the
wall appeared to be fresh.
Deputy Bupp located Horton at his mother's house in
Canton and arrested him. Horton seemed relaxed and did not
appear to have any injuries, nor did he complain of any.
Deputy Bupp averred that, in his experience, individuals whom
claim self-defense tend to stay at the scene and report what
Horton testified in his own defense, relaying a much
different version of events. Horton admitted to pushing his
wife to the ground three times, but denied kicking, punching,
or scratching her. Horton indicated that, on that day, he
came up from the basement and observed his wife on the couch
with a 12 ounce water bottle in her hand. Her eyes were
closed. Horton told the children to go to their rooms so they
would not witness any arguing. Horton grabbed the bottle from
her and smelled it. It smelled like vodka and there was only
approximately an ounce left in it. When Horton grabbed the
bottle, Horton's wife jumped up, took a swing at
Horton's head and hit him. Horton pushed her back onto
the couch. Horton's wife got up and the couple began
arguing. Horton expressed his desire to separate and his
disappointment with her drinking. They both were shoving each
other. Horton then attempted to go down the stairs to get his
things to leave, as his bedroom was downstairs while his
wife's was upstairs. Horton asserted that, at that point,
he had to push his wife in order to get down the stairs
because she would not let him leave and was blocking the way.
While Horton was gathering his things, his wife continued to
argue with him and he had to push past her to get into the
garage. As he was putting his belongings in the car, his wife
began throwing firewood at him. One piece landed right behind
his head but did not hit him and at least one piece hit the
car, leaving a dent that was photographed. Horton testified
that he picked up a piece of the wood that had been thrown at
him and walked over to his wife and told her that she had to
stop because it was getting dangerous. She had to let him go.
According to Horton, his wife then swung a bed post at him
and hit him. In response, he pushed her on the side of her
body with the wood he was holding and she fell to the ground
in the garage.
After that, Horton dropped the firewood and got in the car
and left. He was afraid that he would get hurt as the
situation was escalating. As the garage door was closing, his
wife was approaching him with two pieces of wood in her hands
but she did not exit the garage. Horton testified that at no
point during the incident was he trying to hurt his wife.
Horton asserted that he was sore for a few days but did not
notice any bruising.
Ultimately, the jury found Horton guilty and the trial court
sentenced him. Horton has appealed, raising two ...