Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Jefferson
Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Jefferson County,
Ohio Case No. 15 CR 110
Plaintiff-Appellee: Atty. Jane M. Hanlin Prosecuting Attorney
Atty. Frank J. Bruzzese Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Jefferson County Justice Center
Defendant-Appellant: Atty. Aaron A. Richardson Blake, Bednar,
Blake & Richardson
Cheryl L. Waite Hon. Gene Donofrio Hon. Carol Ann Robb
Appellant Frank Lee Larkins, Jr. appeals a June 1, 2016
Jefferson County Common Pleas Court decision finding him
guilty of one count of rape. Appellant argues that the trial
court erroneously denied his motion for a mistrial after a
witness blurted out that he supposedly had intercourse with
eight or nine other girls. For the reasons provided,
Appellant's argument is without merit and the judgment of
the trial court is affirmed.
and Procedural History
At the time of the incident in question, Appellant was living
with a woman whom he described as his girlfriend. Although
the woman testified that they were not dating, she
acknowledged that he did live with her and slept on a couch
in the living room. (5/19/16 Trial Tr., p. 183.) On July 23,
2015, three other people stayed at this house. They included
a twenty-year-old man and two young girls, including the
victim. The victim was twelve-years-old at the time.
On that night, Appellant's companion woman went to her
bedroom and fell asleep while Appellant and the three guests
watched television in the living room. According to the
victim, she woke up at some point during the night and found
Appellant on top of her and engaging in intercourse with her.
(Id. at p. 194.) Her pants and underwear had been
pulled down around her ankles. She testified that she tried
to scream but Appellant held a pillow over her face. She also
testified that she tried to force him off of her but he
forced her to lie back down. After he completed the rape, the
victim testified that he went to another couch to sleep. She
noticed a used condom on the table, but it was gone in the
morning. (Id. at p. 197.)
At some point the next day, the victim informed
Appellant's companion about the rape. (Id. at p.
199.) According to Appellant, the woman confronted him and
threw him out of the house. The record shows that this woman
testified she evicted Appellant before she was informed of
the rape. Regardless, Appellant's friend picked him up
and allowed him to stay at his house. A few days later, this
friend learned from his mother that the Toronto Police
Department had issued a warrant for Appellant's arrest.
The friend informed Appellant, who admitted that he might be
in trouble because he "slept with this little
girl." (Id. at p. 245.)
Appellant voluntarily reported to the police station. On his
way to the station, he encountered a group of people with
knowledge of the situation who allegedly threatened him. On
arrival, he was told to come back later to speak with Sgt.
Anthony Porreca. Appellant returned later in the day and
spoke in an interview room with Sgt. Porreca and Captain Rick
Parker. At first, Appellant denied the accusations. However,
when told that there may be a difference in the charges if
the encounter was consensual, Appellant admitted that he
engaged in intercourse with the victim, but said that it was
consensual. (Id. at p. 290.) Appellant admitted at
least seven times during the videotaped interview that he had
intercourse with the victim.
According to Appellant, the victim began flirting with him
and then kissed and tickled him. (Id. at p. 302.) He
claimed that the victim told him she wanted to have
intercourse and he repeatedly asked her if she was sure,
because he did not want to get in trouble. He admitted that
he knew she was only eleven or twelve years old and that he
kept the condom wrapper. (Id. at pp. 302-303.)
Appellant made several phone calls to his father while at the
police station. Appellant's end of the conversation was
recorded. His father told him not to speak with the officers
and to get a lawyer, however, Appellant told him that he had
already told police what had happened. (Id. at p.
297.) He also informed his father that he had intercourse
with the victim and that she was underage.
On August 5, 2015, Appellant was indicted on one count of
rape, a felony of the first degree in violation of R.C.
2907.02 (A)(1)(b), (B). At trial, Sgt. Parker, Officer
Porreca, Appellant's friend, Appellant's female
companion, the victim, and another young girl who was present
at the time of the incident testified on behalf of the state.
Appellant and his father testified on his behalf.
Appellant's videotaped interview and an audio recording
of his calls to his father were played for the jury and were
admitted into evidence. Appellant acknowledged during his
testimony that he confessed, but claimed that his confession
was false. He said that he wanted to go to jail because he
was afraid of the people who had confronted him and he would
have been homeless because he did not have a place to stay.
On May 19, 2016, the jury found Appellant guilty of the sole
charge of the indictment. A sentencing hearing was held on
the same date and the trial court sentenced Appellant to life
in prison without parole eligibility for ten years. ...