FROM JUDGMENT ENTERED IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS COUNTY OF
LORAIN, OHIO CASE No. 12CR085522
STEPHEN P. HANUDEL, Attorney at Law, for Appellant.
P. WILL, Prosecuting Attorney, and NATASHA RUIZ GUERRIERI,
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Appellee.
DECISION AND JOURNAL ENTRY
Defendant-Appellant, Jarelle Guice, appeals from his
convictions in the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas. This
Late one evening, Mr. Guice ignored a police officer's
signal to stop his car and led the officer on a brief car
chase. At the time, Mr. Guice was the subject of a BOLO
("be on the lookout") because he had threatened his
ex-girlfriend several hours earlier. The chase ended when Mr.
Guice, having driven to the duplex community where his
ex-girlfriend was staying, crashed his car into a neighboring
unit. When the officer following him arrived a few seconds
later, Mr. Guice fired a gun in the direction of the
officer's cruiser, causing the officer to retreat. Mr.
Guice then broke into the duplex unit where his ex-girlfriend
was staying, held the gun to his head, and threatened
Multiple officers responded to the scene and ultimately
cornered Mr. Guice in an outside area. A standoff then ensued
and lasted for approximately twenty minutes. During the
standoff, Mr. Guice threatened suicide and repeatedly
encouraged officers to shoot him. Though officers
continuously commanded him to drop his weapon and attempted
to calm him, Mr. Guice ignored their attempts at intervention
and ultimately stated that "he was going to kill a
f***ing cop tonight." Four officers were standing in a
group to the north of Mr. Guice, and two of those officers
were armed with a shotgun and an assault rifle. Within two
minutes of declaring his intention to kill a police officer,
Mr. Guice commented on the size of those officers' guns,
turned toward their group, and fired his gun in their
direction. Multiple officers then returned fire, subdued Mr.
Guice, and ended the standoff.
A grand jury indicted Mr. Guice on four counts of attempted
aggravated murder, five counts of felonious assault, five
counts of assault, and one count each of attempted murder,
aggravated burglary, having a weapon under disability,
receiving stolen property, inducing panic, obstructing
official business, and criminal damaging. Nineteen of Mr.
Guice's counts contained attendant firearm
specifications. Additionally, his felonious assault and
assault counts were charged as higher-level felonies due to
the presence of an enhancing element (i.e., that the victims
were peace officers).
A jury trial took place and, at its conclusion, the State
dismissed the receiving stolen property count. The jury then
deliberated on the remaining counts and specifications and
found Mr. Guice guilty. The court merged all of his felonious
assault and assault counts into his attempted aggravated
murder and attempted murder counts and ultimately sentenced
him to a total of 15 years in prison.
Mr. Guice now appeals from his convictions and raises six
assignments of error for this Court's review. For ease of
analysis, this Court consolidates several of his assignments
OF ERROR NO. 1
TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT DISMISSING THE ATTEMPTED AGGRAVATED
MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER COUNTS (1-5) PURSUANT TO CRIM. R.
29 BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE WAS INSUFFICIENT AS TO [MR]
GUICE'S INTENT TO KILL.
OF ERROR NO. 2
TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT DISMISSING THE ATTEMPTED AGGRAVATED
MURDER COUNTS 1-4 PURSUANT TO CRIM. R. 29 BECAUSE THE
EVIDENCE WAS INSUFFICIENT AS TO [MR] GUICE'S PRIOR
CALCULATION AND DESIGN.
OF ERROR NO. 3
TRIAL COURT ERRED BY NOT DISMISSING THE AGGRAVATED BURGLARY
CHARGE PURSUANT TO CRIM. R. 29 BECAUSE THE EVIDENCE WAS
INSUFFICIENT AS TO [MR] GUICE'S INTENT TO COMMIT A CRIME
WITHIN THE OCCUPIED STRUCTURE.
In the foregoing assignments of error, Mr. Guice argues that
the trial court erred by denying his Crim.R. 29 motion
because several of his convictions are based on insufficient
evidence. This Court disagrees.
"'[This Court] review[s] a denial of a
defendant's Crim.R. 29 motion for acquittal by assessing
the sufficiency of the State's evidence.'"
State v. Bulls, 9th Dist. Summit No. 27029,
2015-Ohio-276, ¶ 6, quoting State v. Frashuer,
9th Dist. Summit No. 24769, 2010-Ohio-634, ¶ 33. Whether
the evidence in a case is legally sufficient to sustain a
conviction is a question of law that this Court reviews de
novo. State v. Thompkins, 78 Ohio St.3d 380, 386
An appellate court's function when reviewing the
sufficiency of the evidence to support a criminal conviction
is to examine the evidence admitted at trial to determine
whether such evidence, if believed, would convince the
average mind of the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable
doubt. The relevant inquiry is whether, after viewing the
evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution, any
rational trier of fact could have found the essential
elements of the crime proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259');">61 Ohio St.3d 259 (1991), paragraph
two of the syllabus. "In essence, sufficiency is a test
of adequacy." Thompkins at 386.
A defendant commits aggravated murder if he purposely causes
the death of another "with prior calculation and
design." R.C. 2903.01(A). "'Prior calculation
and design' denotes 'sufficient time and opportunity
for the planning of an act of homicide * * *' coupled
with circumstances that demonstrate 'a scheme designed to
implement the calculated decision to kill * * *.'"
State v. Powell 9th Dist. Summit No. 28170,
2017-Ohio-5629, ¶ 9, quoting State v. Cotton,
56 Ohio St.2d 8 (1978), paragraph three of the syllabus.
"While a few fleeting moments of deliberation or
instantaneous deliberations are inadequate to support prior
calculation and design, 'a prolonged period of
deliberation is [also] unnecessary.'" State v.
Hairston, 9th Dist. Lorain No. 05CA008768,
2006-Ohio-4925, ¶ 80, quoting Taylor v.
Mitchell, 296 F.Supp.2d 784, 821 (N.D.Ohio 2003). In
determining whether an individual acted with prior
calculation and design, courts consider the totality of the
circumstances. State v. Guerra, 9th Dist. Lorain No.
12CA010188, 2013-Ohio-5367, ¶ 6.
In the absence of prior calculation and design, purposeful
killing constitutes murder. R.C. 2903.02(A). "A person
acts purposely when it is his specific intention to cause a
certain result, or, when the gist of the offense is a
prohibition against conduct of a certain nature, regardless
of what [he] intends to accomplish thereby, it is his
specific intention to engage in conduct of that nature."
Former R.C. 2901.22(A). The attempt statute prohibits any
person from "purposely or knowingly * * * engag[ing] in
conduct that, if successful, would constitute or result in
[an] offense." R.C. 2923.02(A).
The aggravated burglary statute prohibits any person,
"by force, stealth, or deception, " from
trespass[ing] in an occupied structure * * * when another
person other than an accomplice of the offender is present,
with purpose to commit in the structure * * * any
criminal offense, if * * * [he] has a deadly weapon * *
* on or about [his] person or under [his] control.
(Emphasis added.) R.C. 2911.11(A)(2). To satisfy the
italicized portion of the statute, the State relied on Mr.
Guice's obstructing official business count. A person
obstructs official business when he, "without privilege
to do so and with purpose to prevent, obstruct, or delay the
performance by a public official of any authorized act within
the public official's official capacity, [does] any act
that hampers or impedes a public official in the performance
of the public official's lawful duties." R.C.
2921.31(A). Obstructing official business is a fifth-degree
felony if, while committing the offense, the offender
"creates a risk of physical harm to any person * *
*." R.C. 2921.31(B).
Officer Wesley Fordyce testified that, on June 2, 2012, he
met with Mr. Guice's ex-girlfriend because Mr. Guice had
been harassing her. He learned that she and Mr. Guice had
recently ended their relationship, but that Mr. Guice was
still contacting her, claiming she owed him money. Mr.
Guice's ex-girlfriend told Officer Fordyce that Mr. Guice
wanted to meet with her and became very upset when she
refused. She described how Mr. Guice "began calling her
and threatening her and saying he was going to kill her the
next time he saw her." Following his conversation with
the ex-girlfriend, Officer Fordyce filed a report and advised
her to follow up with the prosecutor's office.
A.B. was friends with Mr. Guice and his ex-girlfriend and
lived in a "four-way duplex" along with her two
children. The day after Mr. Guice's ex-girlfriend spoke
with Officer Fordyce, she was staying with A.B. A.B.
testified that she had invited the ex-girlfriend to stay with
her because the ex-girlfriend and Mr. Guice's
"on-again-off-again" relationship had yet again
ended. A.B. testified that Mr. Guice came to her home that
day because he wanted to talk to his ex-girlfriend. Mr. Guice
was "pretty mad" at the time and began kicking the
door when he was refused entry. Although A.B. attempted to
calm Mr. Guice by talking to him through the door, she
indicated that he then became even angrier and began making
threats. She specified that he threatened to "shoot up
[her] house" and "beat [his ex-girlfriend's]
ass." In response to Mr. Guice's arrival, the
ex-girlfriend called the police. A.B. stated that Mr. Guice
left before the police arrived.
Officer Randall Leiby was dispatched to A.B.'s home at
approximately 8:50 p.m. as a result of the
ex-girlfriend's call. He spoke with both the
ex-girlfriend and A.B., and the ex-girlfriend ultimately
signed a complaint against Mr. Guice for a temporary
protection order. As a result of the incident, a BOLO was
issued for ...