Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Jackson
APPEAL FROM COMMON PLEAS COURT
Miller, Jupiter, Florida, for appellant. 
Michael DeWine, Ohio Attorney General, and Christopher L.
Kinsler, Assistant Attorney General, Columbus, Ohio, for
DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
B. ABELE, JUDGE.
1} This is an appeal from a Jackson County Common
Pleas Court judgment of conviction and sentence. Lewis Vance,
defendant below and appellant herein, assigns the following
errors for review:
FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT REFUSED
TO HOLD A HEARING OR REVIEW APPELLANT VANCE'S MOTION FOR
NEW TRIAL. FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED
STATES CONSTITUTION; ARTICLE I, SECTION 10 OF THE OHIO
CONSTITUTION; CRIM.R. 33"
SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT ERRED BY FAILING TO PROPERLY NOTIFY
APPELLANT VANCE THAT HE WAS SUBJECT TO A DISCRETIONARY TERM
OF UP TO THREE YEARS OF POST-RELEASE CONTROL AT THE
SENTENCING HEARING. ADDITIONALLY, ANY NOTIFICATION REGARDING
POST-RELEASE CONTROL WAS OMITTED FROM THE SENTENCING ENTRY.
THESE FAILURES VIOLATED VANCE'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AS
GUARANTEED BY THE FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE
UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND ARTICLE I, SECTION 10 OF THE
THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE SENTENCE IMPOSED BY THE TRIAL COURT SHOULD BE
REVERSED AND REMANDED AS IT DOES NOT COMPORT WITH THE
PURPOSES OF FELONY SENTENCING. FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH
AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION; ARTICLE I,
SECTION 10 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION; RC. 2929.11."
FOURTH ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT FAILED TO SPECIFY ITS CONSECUTIVE
SENTENCING FINDINGS IN ITS JUDGMENT ENTRY. RC.
2} On June 23, 2014, a Jackson County Grand Jury
returned an indictment that charged appellant with crimes
alleged to have been committed against Patrick Morgan,
including aggravated murder in violation of RC. 2903.01(D),
murder in violation of RC. 2903.02(A), murder in violation of
RC. 2903.02(B), felonious assault in violation of RC.
2903.11(A)(1), and felonious assault in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(2). The indictment also included crimes alleged to
have been committed against Rachel Canode and her daughter
M.C., including kidnapping in violation of R.C.
2905.01(A)(4), abduction in violation of R.C. 2905.02(A)(2),
attempted rape in violation of R.C. 2923.02(A)/2907.02(A)(2),
tampering with evidence in violation of R.C. 29021.12(A),
abduction in violation of R.C. 2905.02(A)(2), and kidnapping
in violation of R.C. 2905.01(B)(2). The trial court appointed
counsel and appellant entered not guilty pleas to all
3} Counsel filed various motions and, inter alia,
requested a competency evaluation. The trial court granted
the request. At the November 21, 2014 competency hearing,
both parties stipulated to the forensic report and the court
later determined appellant to be competent to stand trial.
4} On March 30, 2015, appellant's trial counsel
requested leave to change appellant's plea to not guilty
by reason of insanity (NGRI) and an evaluation, along with a
third competency evaluation. The trial court granted
appellant's request for leave to change his plea and
ordered an evaluation at Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare.
However, on June 16, 2015, the court ordered the evaluation
to occur at Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare. The court also
denied the request for the third competency evaluation.
5} On February 19, 2016, appellant sent a pro se
letter to the trial court judge and indicated that he wished
to have different counsel. At this juncture, counsel also
requested yet another competency evaluation, but the trial
court indicated that both prior evaluations determined
appellant's competency, as set forth in R.C. 2945.37(G),
and that appellant raised no additional facts or argument as
to why a third competency evaluation was necessary. Thus, the
court denied the motion.
6} On July 14, 2016, the trial court issued a
pretrial order and indicated that it had received additional
unsolicited correspondence from appellant, including: (1) a
June 27, 2016 letter, (2) a June 27, 2016 voluntary
statement, (3) a June 24, 2016 voluntary statement, and (4) a
June 19, 2016 motion for dismissal and a list of witnesses.
Because appellant had counsel, the court did not file any of
the documents, but instructed counsel to file, within 14
days, any necessary motion regarding the issues that
appellant raised in the documents. In a separate order, the
court indicated that it had received defendant's pro se
motion for acquittal, but again stated that it would not
consider appellant's pro se motion because counsel
7} The trial court held a four day trial beginning
October 20, 2016. The first witness, William Ghearing, stated
that he was driving toward Wellston, Ohio at 7:00 or 8:00
p.m. on November 29, 2013 when appellant's pick-up truck
struck him head-on. When Ghearing approached appellant,
appellant told him "You never seen me. You never seen me
at all, and don't know who I am." Shortly
thereafter, appellant disappeared.
8} Chillicothe Police Officer Morgan Music testified
that at the time of the accident, he worked for the Coalton
Police Department. After Officer Music arrived at the crash
site, he noticed a body in the truck bed. Once he secured the
scene, Officer Music also learned that a man had been
observed walking about a quarter mile away. Officer Music
assisted in detaining that man (appellant), who displayed
blood on his face, pants and jacket. Jackson County Sheriffs
Deputy Urias Hall later visited the hospital to see appellant
and testified that he smelled of alcohol, but appeared to be
9} Officers eventually learned that appellant's
truck actually belonged to Patrick Morgan. Also, Ohio Bureau
of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Special Agent Bryan White
testified about processing the vehicle crash site, and stated
that the victim's (Morgan's) pants and underwear were
found around his knees, and that the victim had only one
10} Nineteen-year-old Dustin Jones testified that on
the night in question, appellant came to his parents'
neighboring home and asked him to help load a deer into a
truck. Jones assisted, but observed that the object was not a
deer but rather a human body that he recognized as the person
who had been staying with appellant. Appellant then
threatened Jones and his family with harm if he did not help.