Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
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
BEFORE: Laster Mays, J., Boyle, P.J., and S. Gallagher, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
LASTER MAYS, JUDGE.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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