from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Nos.
14CR-5733, 15CR-4235, 15CR-6419.
O'Brien, Prosecuting Attorney, and Michael P. Walton, for
Law Office of Donald Gallick LLC and Donald Gallick, for
Michael P. Walton.
1} Defendant-appellant, Thomas A. Johnson, appeals
the sentences he received in three separate criminal cases in
the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas after pleading
guilty to multiple violent and drug-related felonies. As
explained below, the trial court did not err when sentencing
Johnson. Accordingly, we affirm the judgments in all three
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
2} On June 27, 2013, Johnson and a companion drove
to the home of an individual who they believed had murdered
one of their friends, got out of the car, and fired shots
into the house. A person with no connection to the murder was
inside. (June 13, 2016 Tr. at 9.) Johnson and his companion
then drove to another residence, where they exited their
vehicle and shot into the residence multiple times. Three
persons were inside at the time. (Tr. at 10.)
3} On October 28, 2014, Johnson and his companion
were indicted on the following charges: two counts of
improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation, a
second degree felony under R.C. 2923.161, each count with a
three-year firearm specification under R.C. 2941.145(A) and
one with a five-year "drive by" firearm
specification under R.C. 2941.146(A); four counts of
felonious assault, a second degree felony under R.C. 2903.11,
each count with a three-year firearm specification under R.C.
2941.145(A) and three with five-year "drive by"
firearm specifications under R.C. 2941.146(A); one count of
carrying a concealed weapon, a second degree felony under
R.C. 2923.12; and one count of improperly handling a firearm
in a motor vehicle under R.C. 2923.16, a felony of the fourth
degree. (Oct. 28, 2014 Indictment in case No. 14CR-5733.)
4} On August 20, 2015, police officers observed
Johnson driving and in pursuit of another vehicle, which he
cut off. Johnson got out and went up to the driver of the car
he was pursuing, at which time the officers drew their
weapons and arrested him. A seven-month-old child was in the
car. Johnson told the officers that he sold heroin and was in
possession of over 10 grams of the substance. (June 13, 2016
Tr. at 12.) Johnson was subsequently indicted on one count of
possession of heroin under R.C. 2925.11, a second degree
felony, and one count of trafficking in heroin under R.C.
2925.03, a first degree felony, with a sentencing enhancement
for committing the offense in the vicinity of a juvenile
under R.C. 2925.01. (Aug. 28, 2015 Indictment in case No.
5} On December 5, 2015, Johnson was arrested
pursuant to an outstanding warrant and was discovered to be
in possession of an ounce of heroin. (June 13, 2016 Tr. at
13.) He was subsequently indicted on one count of possession
of heroin under R.C. 2925.11, a second degree felony, and one
count of trafficking in heroin under R.C. 2925.03, a second
degree felony. (Dec. 30, 2015 Indictment in case No.
6} Johnson initially entered pleas of not guilty to
all the charges, but subsequently reached a plea deal with
the prosecutor. In exchange for pleading guilty, the
prosecution dropped the five-year "drive by"
specifications under R.C. 2941.146(A) from the June 27, 2013
shootings, the possession of heroin charge under R.C. 2925.11
and the sentencing enhancement from the August 20, 2015
incident, and the possession of heroin charge under R.C.
2925.11 from the December 5, 2015 arrest. (June 13, 2016 Tr.
7} A sentencing hearing was held on November 16,
2016. For the offenses arising from the June 27,
2013 shootings, the trial court sentenced Johnson to four
years each for the two counts of improper discharge of a
firearm into a residence and four felonious assault counts,
nine months each for carrying a concealed weapon and improper
handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, and three years for
two of the firearm specifications. The trial court ordered
the two counts of improper discharge of a firearm into a
residence to be served concurrently but consecutive to the
counts of felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon and
improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, which were
all to be served concurrently. The two three-year firearm
specifications were to be served consecutive to all other
counts and consecutive to the sentences in Johnson's
other cases. (Nov. 17, 2016 Jgmt. Entry in case No.
14CR-5733.) The trial court sentenced Johnson to two years on
each of the trafficking in heroin charges in the other cases,
for a total aggregate sentence of eighteen years
imprisonment. (Nov. 17, 2016 Jgmt. Entry in case No.
15CR-4235 & Nov. 17, 2016 Jgmt. Entry in case No.
8} Johnson filed timely notices of appeal of these
sentences, and asserts the following assignments of error:
[I.] THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO CONDUCT A MANDATORY ANALYSIS
OF MERGER AND ALLIED OFFENSES OF SIMILAR IMPORT IN 14 CR
[II.] THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY IMPOSING CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES
WITHOUT ANNOUNCING AT THE SENTENCING HEARING WHICH FINDING
REQUIRED [THAT] THE SENTENCES BE SERVED CONSECUTIVELY AS
MANDATED BY STATE V. BONNELL.
[III.] THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY IMPOSING SENTENCES ON FELONY
CASES WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE OVERRIDING PURPOSE[S] OF FELONY
9} Before reaching Johnson's assignments of
error, we consider the applicable standards of review. A
defendant may appeal a sentence on the grounds that the
sentence imposed by the trial court was "contrary to
law." RC. 2953.08(A)(4). The statute expressly states
that the standard of review "is not whether the
sentencing court abused its discretion." RC.
2953.08(G)(2). Rather, an appellate court may overturn the
trial court only if the appellate court "clearly and
convincingly finds * * * [t]hat the record does not support
the sentencing court's findings" required to be made
under RC. ...