Court of Appeals of Ohio, Second District, Montgomery
Appeal from Common Pleas Trial Court Case No. 16-CR-3203
MATHIAS H. HECK, JR., by ALICE B. PETERS, Atty. Attorney for
ALLEN WILMES, Atty. Attorney for Defendant-Appellant.
1} Dewan Anderson appeals from his conviction and
sentence following a no-contest plea to one count of cocaine
possession, a fifth-degree felony.
2} In his sole assignment of error, Anderson
challenges the trial court's denial of a suppression
motion he filed prior to entering his plea. Specifically, he
contends the trial court erred in finding that the police
officer had a reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal
activity to justify stopping and detaining him.
3} The only witness at the suppression hearing was
Dayton police officer Jordan Wortham. He testified that he
was on patrol on the afternoon of October 5, 2016 when he
responded to a report of a silent burglary alarm being
activated at a cell-phone business located at 2001 North Main
Street. He promptly responded to that address, parked his
cruiser across the street facing the business, and monitored
the scene. (Tr. at 7, 9). Within a matter of seconds, Wortham
saw Anderson walk around the side of the business toward him.
Upon seeing the marked cruiser, Anderson abruptly stopped,
turned around, and walked the other direction. (Id.
at 10). Wortham found Anderson's actions suspicious and
decided to make an investigatory stop. He explained his
reasoning as follows:
As I look at the business I see the defendant, Mr. Anderson,
walk to the left side which would be the south side of the
business. I see him appear from directly behind it and he was
walking casually until he looked up at my cruiser, and as he
looked up at my cruiser he abruptly stopped. * * * [T]hen he
quickly turned away facing west away and proceeded to briskly
walk so he hurried his walk. He wasn't casually walking
like he was when he was directly behind the business until he
So that heightened my suspiciousness of the fact that he
abruptly stopped and looked at me, turned away really fast.
The business alarm was activated. He's in close proximity
of the business. He's a few feet away from the business.
I have to stop him to investigate further into his possible
involvement of the burglar alarm being activated at the
(Id. at 10).
4} Wortham proceeded to testify that he did not
recall seeing anyone else in the area. (Id.). After
observing Anderson make an abrupt about-face and walk out of
sight, Wortham caught up to him in the cruiser. (Id.
at 12). He approached on foot and ordered Anderson to stop.
(Id. at 12). As he did so, he noticed a
"distinct bulge" protruding from Anderson's
waist band. (Id.). Based on his experience and the
appearance of the bulge, Wortham suspected that it might be a
handgun, particularly in light of the fact that he was
investigating an activated alarm and a possible burglary in a
noted high-crime area. (Id. at 12-13). As a result,
he decided to conduct a weapons frisk. (Id. at 13).
Upon doing so, he recognized the "distinct" feel of
packaged marijuana and pill capsules where he saw the bulge.
(Id.). As he conducted the pat down, he also
detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from Anderson.
(Id. at 14).
5} On cross examination, Wortham reviewed a
cruiser-cam video of the incident. Wortham acknowledged that
the video actually showed three or four people other than
Anderson entering or leaving the store or walking past.
(Id. at 17-18). Wortham explained that he did not
approach any of these people because they were "not
suspicious." (Id. at 19). Unlike Anderson, who
abruptly stopped, turned around, and disappeared from sight
upon seeing the police cruiser, these other people appeared
to be just walking. (Id. at 18-20). Wortham also
admitted that Anderson was not free to go upon being
approached by the officer. (Id. at 21). Wortham
testified that he patted Anderson's outer clothing and
immediately knew that what he felt in Anderson's waist
band was drugs. (Id. at 24, 33). In fact, Anderson
possessed multiple plastic baggies containing marijuana and
pill capsules. (Id. at 26).
6} In the following exchange with defense counsel,
Wortham reiterated his suspicion when he observed Anderson:
Q. Okay. You had indicated that you thought he was
suspicious. What made you think this guy was suspicious?
Because he walks up and ...