Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Allison S. Breneman
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Kelly Needham Assistant County
BEFORE: Keough, P.J., E.A. Gallagher, A.J., and Kilbane, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
KATHLEEN ANN KEOUGH, P.J.
Defendant-appellant Carlos Binford ("Binford")
appeals from the judgment of the common pleas court, rendered
after a jury verdict, finding him guilty of felonious
assault, having weapons while under disability, and
improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. Binford
contends that his convictions were not supported by
sufficient evidence and are against the manifest weight of
the evidence; his trial counsel was ineffective; and the
trial court abused its discretion in sentencing him to 11
years in prison. Finding no merit to the appeal, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural Background
A grand jury indicted Binford in multicount indictment as
follows: Count 1, felonious assault in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(1); Count 2, felonious assault in violation of
R.C. 2903.11(A)(2); Count 3, having weapons while under
disability in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(3); and Count 4,
improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle in violation
of R.C. 2923.16(B). The felonious assault charges carried
one- and three-year firearm specifications. Binford pleaded
not guilty, and the case proceeded to trial.
Deandre Rencher ("Rencher") testified that on June
26, 2016, he called his ex-girlfriend, Shennell Owens
("Owens"), and told her that he wanted to speak to
Binford, her current boyfriend, because several people had
told him that Binford had broken out the window in
Rencher's car several months earlier. Rencher then called
his son, Deandre Ward ("Ward") to meet him at
Owens's apartment "to watch his back." At that
time, Rencher only knew Binford's name as
Binford and his cousin, Maurice Henderson, met Rencher and
Ward at Owens's apartment. Rencher and Binford argued
about the window. Rencher told Binford that he owed him $300,
the cost to repair the window, and Binford denied breaking
the window. Eventually everyone left.
Rencher said that later that day, he went to a park and met
up with a friend of his. As they sat on a park bench talking,
he saw a car park on a street next to the park. Rencher saw
Binford and two other men, one of them Henderson, get out of
the car. Rencher testified that Binford then walked up to him
and said, "I ain't got nothing for you man, "
which Rencher understood to mean that Binford was not going
to pay him for the window. Rencher then stood up and began
fighting with Binford. He said he eventually pinned Binford
against a nearby tree but the other men pulled him and
Binford apart, and Binford ran to his car.
Rencher began walking toward Binford's car. He testified
that as he reached the street, he saw Binford open the back
door of his car, reach in the back seat, pull out a gun, and
shoot twice in the air. Binford then got in the driver's
seat of his car.
Rencher said that as he turned around, he noticed his son
Ward fighting with Henderson. He saw Henderson run away but
then fall. Ward ran after him. As Ward neared Henderson,
Rencher saw Binford driving his car up the street. Rencher
said that the passenger window of Binford's car was open
and as Binford drove by Henderson and Ward, he saw Binford
"hanging out the window shooting." Rencher said he
heard at least five shots. Rencher then heard Ward say,
"Dad, I'm hit, " and he ran over to Ward.
Henderson jumped off the ground, ran to Binford's car and
got in, and they drove away. Rencher testified that several
people who were at the park told him Binford's name, and
Rencher gave the name to the police when they arrived at the
Ward testified that there were "just words" but no
physical altercation when Rencher confronted Binford at
Owens's apartment earlier in the day about the broken
window. Ward said that later that day, he went to the park to
meet his father to borrow $20 from him. He testified that as
he parked his car, he saw his father standing in the middle
of the street, his shirt ripped and his neck bleeding. Ward
also saw Binford, who was getting in his car, and Henderson,
who was standing next to Binford's car.
Ward testified that he went up to Henderson and asked him
what was going on. According to Ward, he and Henderson
"locked up" and tried to slam each other to the
ground. As they were fighting, Binford began pulling away.
Henderson broke loose from Ward and began running toward the
car but then fell down. Ward testified that he ran after
Henderson and, as he reached him and was about to kick him,
he heard about five shots. Ward said he looked up, saw
Binford's hand "hanging out the window, " and
felt that he had been shot. At the same time, Henderson got
up, ran toward Binford's car and got in, and the car
Ward testified that he told the police on the scene that he
did not know who shot him because he did not know
Binford's name. Later, after he learned Binford's
name from his father, he called the police and gave them the
name. Cleveland police detective John Kraynik testified that
he showed a photo lineup to Ward, who picked Binford out of
the lineup. Ward told Kraynik that he was 100 percent
positive of his identification.
Owens testified that when Rencher was arguing with Binford at
her apartment, she told him that he knew that Binford had not
broken his window, and that he was merely trying to get back
with her by causing problems with Binford. She concurred that
everyone left before there was any physical altercation.
At the close of the state's evidence, Binford moved for
Crim.R. 29 acquittal, which the trial court denied.
Henderson testified in Binford's defense. He said that he
was with Binford at Owens's apartment earlier in the day
on June 26, 2016, and that he spent most of the day with
Binford. He said that Binford went up to Rencher at the park
and tried to have a conversation with him but the two men
started fighting. Henderson admitted that he fought with Ward
when Ward showed up at the park. He said that as he was
fighting with Ward, he heard shots, so he began running