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State v. Rhodes

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

April 26, 2018

STATE OF OHIO PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
RON RHODES DEFENDANT-APPELLANT

          Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CR-16-612388-A

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Britta M. Barthol

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga County Prosecutor By: Christopher D. Schroeder Assistant County Prosecutor

          BEFORE: Laster Mays, J., Boyle, P.J., and S. Gallagher, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          ANITA LASTER MAYS, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Ron Rhodes ("Rhodes") appeals his conviction and asks this court to reverse and remand to the trial court for a new trial. We affirm.

         {¶2} Rhodes was found guilty of assault, a first-degree misdemeanor, in violation of R.C. 2903.13; kidnapping, a first-degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(3); and domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor, in violation of R.C. 2919.25(A). The trial court sentenced Rhodes to three years imprisonment on the kidnapping count and time served on the misdemeanor counts. The trial court also imposed five years of mandatory postrelease control.

         I. Facts

         {¶3} C.J., the victim, testified that on the evening of November 16, 2016, she went to get her hair done. While getting her hair done, she had a phone conversation with Rhodes, where he expressed he was upset that C.J. did not previously inform him of her hair appointment. C.J. stated that Rhodes "seemed aggravated." (Tr. 153.) When C.J. returned home, Rhodes was not there, so she went to sleep. She was awakened sometime later by Rhodes who was angry and yelling. When C.J. asked Rhodes what was wrong, Rhodes grabbed C.J. by her shoulder, dragged her off the bed onto the floor, and began punching her on the legs, arms, and side. C.J. testified that Rhodes then grabbed a leather belt and began hitting her on her legs and arms. (Tr. 155.) C.J. stated that Rhodes told her, "B**ch, I'm gonna kill you. Think you slick." (Tr. 157.) Rhodes wrapped his hands around C.J.'s throat and began choking her. C.J. testified that she began to fade out but did not lose consciousness. (Tr. 158, 197.) Rhodes then digitally penetrated C.J.'s vagina. (Tr. 158.)

         {¶4} C.J. testified that she attempted to bite Rhodes to get away, but Rhodes locked the bedroom door so she could not escape. (Tr. 158-159.) Rhodes then tried to stomp C.J.'s face with his boot, but she shielded her face with her hands. He choked C.J. again and told her, "You not about to see your kids, b**ch. You about to die." (Tr. 159.) According to C.J., Rhodes then got up, turned on the light, opened the bedroom door, and said, "B**ch, try to leave now. Try to leave now." (Tr. 160.) C.J. did not have any clothes on during the attack, grabbed a dress and ran out of the house. When C.J. got outside, she saw a woman on the street and asker her to give her a ride to the hospital. (Tr. 161.) The woman gave her a ride to South Pointe Hospital and C.J. was admitted. She had bruising on her neck, legs, thigh, and around her eye.

         {¶5} While in the hospital, C.J. called the Cleveland Division of Police, Domestic Violence Unit. Detective Darren Reeves ("Det. Reeves") arrived at the hospital and spoke with C.J. Det. Reeves photographed C.J.'s injuries and had her complete a written statement. On cross-examination, defense counsel raised the issue that C.J. did not indicate that Rhodes digitally raped her to the hospital staff and, therefore, a rape kit was not prepared.

         {¶6} Initially Rhodes was charged with rape, felonious assault, kidnapping, and domestic violence. However, the jury found Rhodes not guilty of rape and guilty on the lesser included offense of assault. Rhodes has filed an appeal assigning two errors for our review:

I. The evidence was insufficient as a matter of law to support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that the appellant ...

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