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State v. Whitt

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Twelfth District, Warren

April 2, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
DANIEL W. WHITT, Defendant-Appellant.


          David P. Fornshell, Warren County Prosecuting Attorney, Kirsten A. Brandt, for plaintiff-appellee

          Craig A. Newburger, for defendant-appellant


          RINGLAND, J.

         {¶ 1} Defendant-appellant, Daniel Whitt, appeals his conviction in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas. For the reasons detailed below, we affirm.

         {¶ 2} On August 5, 2016, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Janet and Gary Bowling, their two grandchildren, and Janet's brother were at their home in South Lebanon. Most of the family was in the family room watching the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics. Janet was in the master bedroom.

         {¶ 3} Janet was not in her room for long when she heard a loud bang outside the sliding glass door of her bedroom. The sound was so loud that the family believed they had heard a gunshot. Janet and Gary went to the kitchen where they observed a man, covered in blood and panicked, banging on the kitchen door. According to Gary, Whitt was "beating the hell out of the door with something, I don't know what it was. I thought he was going to break the glass, saying they're going to shoot me, they're going to shoot me."

         {¶ 4} Though Gary offered to help Whitt, Gary explained that he could not come inside. Gary testified that he told Whit "you're not getting in here is what I told him. You're not getting in here. I said, I'll get you some help, but you're not getting in here." Whitt ignored Gary and instead repeated cries to "let me in, let me in, " while continuing to beat of the door with an object.

         {¶ 5} Meanwhile, Janet went into the family room to call 911. Despite being told that he was not permitted to enter the house, Whitt continued to bang on the glass of the kitchen door and windows. At some point, Whitt managed to open the front storm door and continued loudly banging on the main door. While Whitt continued to beat on the door, he continued to yell "let me in, they're after me, they're coming to get me."

         {¶ 6} While Whitt continued to make attempts to gain entry, Gary was on the phone with 911. Whitt was banging on the windows and doors so hard that Gary and Janet were "very surprised" the glass held and Whitt was unable to gain entry. Believing that Whitt was possibly armed and afraid that Whitt was going to harm them, Gary grabbed an aluminum baseball bat for protection in the event that Whitt was able to gain entry to the residence.

         {¶ 7} Law enforcement personnel were not able to arrive on-scene until approximately 12 minutes after they were dispatched to the scene. When law enforcement arrived, they approached Whitt with their guns drawn and ordered him down on the ground. Whitt initially did not comply, but officers were able to get Whitt on the ground and handcuffed. At the time, Whitt was observed to be covered in blood and "tweaking." Deputy Noah Billmaier described Whitt as constantly moving and unable to sit still. Deputy Billmaier testified that Whitt's behavior was commonly seen in individuals who were on narcotics.

         {¶ 8} Whitt was transported to the hospital for treatment. That night and the following morning, law enforcement surveyed Gary and Janet's property. During their investigation, law enforcement observed blood covering the driveway, on vehicles, on the front porch, tables and chairs, on the doors, windows, and backyard. In addition, furniture on the front porch had been broken and chairs tossed aside. Law enforcement also recovered a broken ashtray on the porch with another piece of the ashtray in the driveway, connected by a trail of blood.

         {¶ 9} Deputy Kenneth Palmer spoke with Whitt in the emergency room. Deputy Palmer also described Whitt as "real jittery, very talkative, talking a mile a minute" and "couldn't keep still." During their conversation, Whitt admitted that he had ingested "ice, " which is a slang term for methamphetamine. Whitt also recalled the incident at the Bowling residence and stated that he had brought the ashtray with him from the apartment complex across the street and he had cut himself on the broken shards, thus causing the bloody scene.

         {¶ 10} On August 29, 2016, Whitt was indicted for attempted trespass into a habitation and criminal damaging. The case proceeded to a jury trial on March 23, 2017. Following the introduction of all evidence and deliberation by the jury, Whitt was found guilty of both counts. The trial court sentenced Whitt to eleven months in prison to be served consecutively to another prison term ...

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