Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Richland
from the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, Case
No's. 2015CR0755, 2015CR0700
Plaintiff-Appellee GARY BISHOP Prosecuting Attorney Richland
County, Ohio By: JOSEPH C. SNYDER Assistant Prosecuting
Defendant-Appellant JEFFREY P. UHRICH Law Office of Jeffrey
John W. Wise, P.J., Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J., Hon. William B.
Appellant Christen Ramirez appeals the judgment entered by
the Richland County Common Pleas Court convicting him of
aggravated murder (R.C. 2903.01(B), four counts of kidnapping
(R.C. 2905.01), two counts of aggravated burglary (R.C.
2911.11), robbery (R.C. 2911.02), tampering with evidence
(R.C. 2921.12), two counts of aggravated robbery (R.C.
2911.01), and injuring animals (R.C. 959.92), with firearm
and repeat violent offender specifications, and sentencing
him to an aggregate term of 112 years incarceration to be
served consecutively to a term of life imprisonment without
possibility of parole. Appellee is the state of Ohio.
OF THE FACTS AND CASE
In the early morning hours of June 24, 2015, Uvon Burns was
asleep in her bedroom when she awoke to a man pointing a gun
at her, demanding drugs and money. When her dog moved to
protect her, the intruder shot the dog. She had no drugs, but
tossed her purse at him which contained her tip money from
bartending at the American Legion the night before. He picked
up the purse and ran.
Burns discovered her boyfriend, Jason O'Neal, had climbed
into bed with her after she fell asleep. He laid still so the
intruder would not see him. He heard the intruder ask for
weed and money. He saw the silhouette of a man in a grey
hoodie drawn tight, holding a gun. He noted a tattoo on the
intruder's hand, and a pair of Nike boots he had earlier
seen on Appellant. He was later able to identify Appellant by
his voice as well as the tattoo and boots.
Burns and O'Neal called the police and discovered the
intruder gained entry into the home by kicking the panel out
of the front door. The dog survived after receiving emergency
At two o'clock that morning, Appellant's co-defendant
Marcelluis Luckie woke up his girlfriend, Andrea McDowell, to
tell her Burns had been robbed and her dog had been shot.
McDowell and Burns were coworkers and friends. Luckie claimed
he heard about the incident from his friend George Kelly. He
insisted they check on Burns the next morning, and they drove
to Burns' house. Luckie told Burns and O'Neal he was
sorry about their dog. O'Neal found it strange Luckie
knew about the dog because the incident was not yet public
On June 25, 2015, Christshanda Webb was at the home of her
brother, Myron Webb, waiting for a cable service installer to
arrive. She heard a knock on the back door. She checked the
front of the house for a cable van, but no one was there.
Others in the house checked the rear door and found Appellant
attempting to force his way into the house. When he noticed
people in the house, he ran. Christhanda walked up the street
in the direction Appellant was headed. She saw Luckie
approach driving a black Pontiac, and Appellant jumped on the
Shamille Chapman and her baby were asleep on the couch on
June 26, 2015, when she awoke to find Appellant and Luckie
standing over her, asking for money and drugs. Luckie held a
gun, and Appellant held a crowbar. Luckie was wearing a black
Ohio State hoodie, a mask, gloves, and Hello Kitty glasses.
Appellant was dressed in all black. Appellant took
electronics from the house and put them in bags. The men
asked her to have her son come downstairs, and they held him
at gunpoint with Chapman. The men demanded she call her
boyfriend, Myron Webb, to ask him to come home, and
threatened her if she warned him something was amiss. She
called Webb and asked him to come home. The men continued to
ransack the house while waiting for Webb to arrive, asking
her to call Webb multiple times. Appellant and Luckie tied up
Chapman's son with t-shirts and an electrical cord.
When Webb arrived home, the men ordered him to the ground.
They told Webb they heard he had "bricks." Webb
responded he did not have drugs, but gave them his money.
Unhappy with what they had received, the men planned to stay
all night and have Webb withdraw money from the bank for them
the next morning. They told Webb they would put a pillowcase
over his head and take the baby with them. Webb asked them
not to involve his family. When they ordered Webb to walk
toward the kitchen, Webb charged the men. Chapman grabbed the
baby and ran into the kitchen where her son was tied up. She
got outside with her son and the baby and screamed for the
neighbors to call 911.
After seeing Appellant and Luckie run away, Chapman went back
into the house where she found Webb rolling around on the
ground, bleeding from stab wounds to his head, neck, back,
and upper arms. He was transported to the hospital where he
died the following day. The medical examiner found
twenty-five stab wounds on Webb.
During the afternoon of June 26, 2015, O'Neal saw
Appellant with a group of people gathered outside a
friend's house. During a conversation, O'Neal
recognized Appellant's voice from the break-in on June
24, 2015. O'Neal punched Appellant and choked him. After
he was beaten by O'Neal, Appellant called his grandfather
and told him to get rid of bullets and a pair of
"Jordans" which were at his house. Appellant then
called Luckie and told him he got beat up over shooting
O'Neal's dog. Appellant changed his shoes at his
house and his clothes at his mother's house before going
to the hospital, where he claimed his injuries were the
result of a fall from a tree.
Chapman's neighbors reported seeing Appellant and Luckie
flee the scene of the attack on Webb in a black Pontiac Grand
Prix. When police went to Appellant's house to question
witnesses, they found a black Pontiac which they identified
as the vehicle they were looking for in connection with
Webb's murder. Police could see blood on the steering
wheel and a tire iron in the car. They found the vehicle was
registered to McDowell. Blood was later discovered on the
driver's side door, the steering wheel, and the center
console lid. DNA testing from the steering wheel cover showed
a DNA mixture including Webb and Appellant. Webb's blood
was also found under the passenger door handle and at two
locations on the driver's seat.
Appellant was indicted in case number 2015-CR-0700 with
aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated robbery, and
one count of injuring animals, with firearm specifications,
for the events of June 24, 2015. He was indicted in case
number 2015-CR-0755 on two counts aggravated murder, four
counts kidnapping, aggravated burglary, robbery, and
tampering with evidence with firearm and repeat violent
offender specifications for the events of June 25, 2015. The
indictments were consolidated for trial, and consolidated
with the charges against co-defendant Luckie for trial. The
case proceeded to jury trial. Appellant was convicted of all
counts except one of the two counts of aggravated murder. He
was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without
possibility of parole on the aggravated murder conviction,
and an aggregate of 112 years incarceration on the remaining
charges, to be served consecutively. From the judgments of
conviction and sentence Appellant prosecutes this appeal,
assigning as error:
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY JOINING THE SEPARATE OFFENSES
CHARGED IN TWO SEPARATE CASES, NAMELY STATE V. RAMIREZ, CASE
NO. 2015 CR 0700 AND STATE V. RAMIREZ, CASE NO 2015 CR 0755,
IN ONE TRIAL.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT JOINED DEFENDANT RAMIREZ'S
CASES WITH DEFENDANT LUCKIE'S CASES IN ONE TRIAL.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT DENIED THE MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL
UNDER BRUTON V. UNITED STATES (1968), 391 U.S. 123.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT PERMITTED (OVER OBJECTION) IN
COURT IDENTIFICATION FROM CERTAIN PROSECUTION WITNESSES OF
DEFENDANT RAMIREZ AS THE PERPETRATOR OF THE CRIMES CHARGED.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE
OBTAINED FROM A VEHICLE (1999 BLACK PONTIAC GRAND PRIX)
PURSUANT TO IMPROPERLY ISSUED OR INVALID SEARCH WARRANTS.
THE TRIAL COURT ERRED WHEN IT FAILED TO INSTRUCT THE JURY ON
FACTORS TO CONSIDER REGARDING EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY AS
PROPOSED BY DEFENDANT RAMIREZ."
Appellant argues the court erred in joining his two separate
indictments into one trial. The State moved for joinder of
offenses and defendants. Appellant objected to joinder, and
the trial court held a hearing on the motion. Following the
hearing, the court ruled as follows:
This matter came before the Court upon the motion of the
State of Ohio to consolidate all of the above cases for one
jury trial. The Court finds that Defendant Marcellus [sic]
Luckie and Defendant Christian [sic] Ramirez have each been
indicted for the same criminal activity as co-defendants. The
criminal activity that each defendant has been indicted with
relates to a home invasion type of robbery and burglary that
occurred on June 23, 2015 and another similar type of home
invasion type of robbery and burglary that occurred on June
26, 2015. In the second offense the State of Ohio alleges
that the defendants while acting together murdered Myron
Webb. The State contends that all of these offenses were
committed as a part of a course of criminal conduct by those
defendants while they were acting together.
Based on the arguments of the parties the Court believes that
all of these offenses should be consolidated for one trial.
Defendant Ramirez, through counsel, has raised the issue that
a single statement made by Defendant Luckie to a witness
could be ...