Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Robert C. Aldridge Law Offices of
Richard W. Landoll.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: John Kirkland Assistant County
Prosecutor The Justice Center.
BEFORE: Keough, A.J., E.A. Gallagher, J., and Kilbane, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE.
Defendant-appellant, Martin Schellentrager, appeals his
abduction conviction. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
In July 2016, Schellentrager was charged with one count of
kidnapping, a first-degree felony violation of R.C.
2905.01(B)(1). The matter was tried to the bench.
Schellentrager was found not guilty of kidnapping, but was
found guilty of the lesser-included offense of abduction, a
third-degree felony violation of R.C. 2905.02(A)(1). The
court sentenced Schellentrager to five years of community
control sanctions. This timely appeal follows.
On July 10, 2016, the victim, a ten-year old boy, and his
family attended his brother's ice hockey practice at
Iceland Arena in Strongsville, Ohio. By the end of the
practice, the victim was bored and decided to leave his
parents and siblings to check out the game room that was in
the general lobby area, but outside of the ice rink. As he
approached the doors exiting the East ice rink, a stranger,
later identified as Schellentrager, approached him and placed
his arm around the victim's shoulder. At this moment, the
victim's father noticed the man with his son. Thinking
that his son may have struck the man with the door, father
was not immediately alarmed, but thought he would start
walking toward them to see what occurred. However, when he
saw the man whispering in his son's ear and walking
toward the main exit, father became increasingly concerned
and approached the man. Father told Schellentrager to
"get your hands off my son." Startled and nervous,
Schellentrager complied by putting his hands in the air and
exiting the arena. Two of the arena employees followed him
outside and learned that he was staying next door at the
The victim testified that Schellentrager put his arm around
his shoulder and whispered to him that he could go up to the
front desk and put food on Marty's tab, but that the
victim had to tell his dad first. The victim testified that
he would have asked his dad, but was unable to because
Schellentrager had his arm around him, walking him toward the
main exit of the facility. The victim admitted that
Schellentrager did not grab, hurt, or physically threaten
him, but stated that he did not want to go to the front door,
was scared, and worried by Schellentrager's conduct.
Teresa Silva was standing in the elevated gallery area
between the two ice rinks when she noticed an older man
walking through the front door of the facility. She stated
she notice him immediately because he was not wearing any
shoes and was wearing either short shorts or no pants under
his shirt. According to Silva, the man was walking
erratically while looking for something, and walked over to
the concession area. Although the concession stand was
closed, Schellentrager leaned over the counter. At that
moment, Silva noticed that Schellentrager was only wearing
underwear. When Schellentrager went around the counter, Silva
became worried and phoned her husband, who was also at the
ice arena. However, when she looked up, she saw the man come
up behind a little boy, wrapping his arms around him, and
saying something in his ear. She described
Schellentrager's actions as "a bear hug with both
arms." According to Silva, Schellentrager was pushing
the boy toward the front door. As she started to approach
them, she notice other adults near the entrance who stopped
Schellentrager and the boy.
Police officers Philip Siwik and Bradley Busch responded to a
call about a suspicious male attempting to take a child from
Iceland Arena. When they located Schellentrager at the Motel
6, he admitted that he went to Iceland Arena to get food for
a friend. When the officers questioned him about his
interactions with the young boy, he admitted that he
"bear hugged" a boy because he was a former teacher
and always like kids. According to the officers,
Schellentrager admitted that he whispered to the child about
putting food on his tab. When questioned why, he responded,
"I wanted the kid to come to my room and play with
me." According to Officer Siwik, Schellentrager was very
forthcoming. However, when they attempted to arrest him, he
started yelling, acting erratically by hopping on one foot,
and jumping into a shrub. The officers admitted they did not
discover anything in his hotel room that caused them alarm.
At the close of the state's case, Schellentrager moved
for a Crim.R. 29 judgment of acquittal, contending that the
state failed to prove the elements of kidnapping,
specifically, that Schellentrager "created a substantial
risk of serious physical harm." The state acknowledged
that proving this element might be an issue, which was the
justification for requesting lesser-included offenses to be
submitted for deliberation. The trial court took the
arguments under advisement and the following day, denied
Schellentrager's motion, finding that under the Crim.R.
29 standard, reasonable minds could reach different
conclusions that Schellentrager knowingly under the
circumstances created a substantial risk of serious physical
harm to the victim.
Joseph Schellentrager, a school psychologist, testified on
behalf of his brother stating that he was shocked when he
found out why his brother was arrested because his brother
loved, valued, and cared for children. Joseph testified that
since his brother's retirement from teaching and a fall
in 2007 that caused him to be in a coma for two weeks,
Schellentrager suffered from brain trauma and various mood
disorders. He told the court that his brother did not like
the effect of the medications, so he stopped ...