Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton
Appeal From: Hamilton County Municipal Court, Trial No.
Boggs Muething, City Solicitor, Natalia Harris, City
Prosecutor, and Christopher Liu, Assistant City Prosecutor,
Arenstein & Gallagher, William Gallagher and Elizabeth
Conkin, for Defendant-Appellant.
David Rodgers appeals his conviction in the Hamilton County
Municipal Court for theft in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1).
Because the state failed to prove that Rodgers acted with
purpose to deprive the owners of the property, we reverse the
conviction and discharge Rodgers from further prosecution.
Rodgers was charged with theft in violation of R.C.
2913.02(A)(1) for withdrawing $1, 360 from the bank account
of Maxine Jeffries after her death.
At the bench trial, the state presented evidence from Ryan
Goodman, the branch manager at the Hyde Park Key Bank, who
testified that Rodgers and Jeffries had come into the bank
together to give Rodgers the authority to manage
Jeffries's savings account. Goodman had them sign the
required documents, and Rodgers was added to the account as a
power of attorney. However, Goodman testified that the
account was not converted to a joint account, and
Rodgers's authority ended upon Jeffries's death.
The state presented evidence that Jeffries had died without a
will, and that her two daughters, Stacy and Marsha, were the
sole heirs to the Key Bank account. Each daughter testified
that she had not given Rodgers permission to withdraw any
Rodgers testified that he and Jeffries had recently become
engaged and had been in a committed relationship for the past
14 years. During that time, they lived together and shared
the living expenses. After she was diagnosed with cancer, he
took care of her and made sure she had her medicines, took
her to treatment, and ensured she followed all of the
In July 2014, Jeffries was admitted to the hospital. Upon her
release, she was transferred to a nursing home because she
could not walk. Rodgers stayed with her every day in the
hospital and nursing home. After her hospitalization, Rodgers
continued to pay all the bills, including their credit card
debt, by himself.
Rodgers testified that Jeffries had instructed him to
withdraw her share of the bills from her account. Before
Rodgers could withdraw the funds, Jeffries suffered a medical
emergency and was transferred to a hospital where she died
two days later. The following week, Rodgers withdrew the
funds. He testified that he thought he was authorized to make
the withdrawal because the account had been converted to a
joint savings account. He also stated that he was in the
process of transferring his account from Cincinnati Central
Credit Union to the joint account and having his checks
deposited into the joint account.
The trial court found him guilty because the account was not
a joint account despite Rodgers's genuine belief that it