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State v. Mayweather

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fifth District, Licking

April 27, 2018

STATE OF OHIO Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
JEREZ S. MAYWEATHER Defendant-Appellant

          Appeal from the Licking County Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 2017 CR 00134

          For Plaintiff-Appellee DANIEL BENOIT Assistant Prosecutor Licking County Prosecutor's Office

          For Defendant-Appellant JEREZ MAYWEATHER, McConnelsville Road Caldwell, Ohio 43724 Anthony W. Stocco Morrow, Gordon & Byrd, Ltd.

          JUDGES: Hon. John W. Wise, P.J. Hon. W. Scott Gwin, J. Hon. Craig R. Baldwin, J.

          OPINION

          Baldwin, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Jerez S. Mayweather appeals his conviction and sentence from the Licking County Court of Common Pleas on three counts of trafficking in heroin. Plaintiff-appellee is the State of Ohio.

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS AND CASE

         {¶2} On February 23, 2017, the Licking County Grand Jury indicted appellant on three counts of trafficking in heroin in violation of R.C. 2925.03(A)(1)(C)(6)(a), felonies of the fifth degree. At his arraignment on May 30, 2017, appellant entered a plea of not guilty to the charges.

         {¶3} A jury trial commenced on October 18, 2017. The following testimony was adduced at trial.

         {¶4} Deputy Sheriff Greg Collins testified at trial that he was employed through the Licking County Sheriffs Office and was assigned to the Central Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is known as "CODE". On December 15, 2016, CODE arranged a controlled drug buy at the Family Dollar on East Main Street in Newark, Ohio. Deputy Collins testified that the street name of the person who was the target of the drug buy was "Capo". A confidential informant (CI) initiated contact with Capo to set up the buy. Deputy According to Deputy Collins, he went to the location to conduct surveillance and observed a dark colored Ford Edge pull into the parking lot and pull off to the side. A black male wearing all black clothing exited the vehicle and met with the CI. Both the CI and the man then walked back to the vehicle. Deputy Collins observed the CI lean into the vehicle, back out, and then close the door. After the CI walked away, the male got back into the vehicle and drove away. Later the same day, the man was a passenger of a vehicle involved in a traffic stop. Deputy Collins testified that one of the individuals involved in the traffic stop was identified as appellant and that appellant's clothing matching that of the man who had met with the CI earlier that day. He could not identify appellant as the individual at the drug buy. According to Deputy Collins, the driver of the car that was stopped was female. He testified that this was significant because a female had been driving the vehicle that was driven to the drug buy. On cross-examination, he agreed that he did not actually see the drug buy take place.

         {¶5} The next witness to testify was Detective Kris Kimble of the Licking County Sheriffs Office who had been working with CODE since 2009. He testified that on December 21, 2016, he participated in a controlled drug buy using a CI at the Giant Eagle parking lot in the Southgate Shopping Center. Detective Kimball, who was conducting surveillance, testified that he observed a red Kia pull up to the CI, the CI enter the vehicle, the vehicle drive around that parking lot for approximately one minute, and then the CI exit the vehicle. On cross-examination, Detective Kimble testified that he did not actually observe a drug transaction and could not tell who the CI bought the drugs from.

         {¶6} Detective Sergeant Alan Thomas, an employee of the Licking County Sheriffs Office who was assigned to CODE, testified that he participated in three controlled buys involving a target known as Capo and/or Jerez Mayweather. With respect to the December 15, 2016 incident, he testified that he was the supervisor for the buy and was assigned to help with surveillance. He further testified that he "ran" the CI with respect to the December 21, 2016 buy.

         {¶7} Detective Thomas testified that, with respect to the December 15, 2016 buy, he observed a dark colored Ford Edge pull into the Family Dollar parking lot and that the vehicle was driven by a white female. He, however, did not witness the actual buy. Detective Thomas further testified that he participated in the third buy, which occurred on December 27, 2016, and acted as supervisor and helped out with surveillance. While the initial target location for the third buy was the Subway lot on Mount Vernon Road, the CI walked from the lot and the drug buy occurred on the sidewalk in the area a few blocks from the Subway. He testified that he followed the CI as she walked and saw the CI approached by a black male, although he could not identify the man. Detective Thomas testified that he lost sight of the CI and the black male.

         {¶8} At trial, the CI, the CI, testified that she knew appellant as "Capo" and that she had been introduced to him by a mutual acquaintance in October of 2016. She testified that she agreed to work with CODE to have charges for possession of heroin reduced from a felony of the fifth degree to a misdemeanor. According to the CI, she had purchased drugs from appellant in the past and had his telephone number. When she dialed his number, the name "Capo" appeared. With respect to the December 15, 2016 buy, the CI testified that she met with Detective Thomas and called Capo to purchase drugs. The arrangement was for her to purchase $50.00 of heroin. After appellant, who had been driven to the location by Detective Todd Green, did not show up, the CI called him again. She, when asked, testified that she had been searched both before and after being taken to the location of the buy.

         {¶9} After the second call was placed, appellant came and the two walked over to appellant's vehicle, an SUV driven by a woman, where the CI gave appellant money and he gave her heroin. The CI testified that she had received the money from CODE and that after the buy, she went around the corner and met with Detective Green and gave him the drugs. When asked if there was any doubt in her mind that appellant was the person who she had given her money to and bought drugs from, the CI testified "No." Trial Transcript at 207.

         {¶10} The CI was next questioned about the December 21, 2016 buy. She testified that she met with Detective Thomas and called Capo, telling him that she wanted $50.00 worth of heroin. The CI testified that she saw a red car and that appellant was in the passenger seat. According to the CI, she got into the back seat of the car and gave appellant the money and he gave her the drugs. After driving around for a few minutes, the CI exited the vehicle. The CI then walked to where Detective Thomas was located and handed him the drugs. She testified that she was searched again.

         {¶11} The CI also testified about the buy on December 27, 2016. She testified that she called appellant and that they were supposed to meet at Subway, but that appellant did not want to walk down Mount Vernon Road "because he felt he was a hot commodity…" Trial Transcript at 216. The CI testified that she ended up walking up Buckingham Street to Central Street and that the transaction occurred on the street. According to her, she had continuous contact with appellant. After the two parted, the CI went back to the Detectives, gave them the drugs, was searched again and filled out a written statement. She testified that she had no doubt that appellant was the person who she dealt with on December 27, 2016 to complete the drug buy.

         {¶12} Recordings of the phone calls that the CI made to appellant to arrange the buys were played for the jury. The CI testified that her voice and appellant's voice were on the recordings.

         {¶13} On cross-examination, the CI testified that she performed approximately six drug buys for CODE over a three month period beginning in December of 2016 and that more than three were from appellant. She admitted to using heroin after she signed her confidential informant contract on December 9, 2016 which prohibited her from using illegal drugs and to using heroin and other drugs the entire time that she was setting up appellant. On redirect, the CI testified that she had been clean since February of 2017.

         {¶14} Detective Todd Green of the Newark Police Department testified that he was assigned to CODE and "ran" the first and third buys. He testified that he was in charge of the CI for the two buys. According to Detective Green, when he met the CI for the first time, she "threw the name Capo out." Trial Transcript at 254. He testified that he had been watching Capo for two to three months and that he recorded a telephone call between the CI and Capo. Detective Green testified that he searched the CI's person and her purse before the buy on December 15, 2106 and gave her the pre-recorded buy money. The buy money had been pre-recorded to make sure that they knew the serial numbers of the money provided to the CI.

         {¶15} Detective Green testified that after the CI made the buy on December 15, 2016, he picked her up and went to a secure location where appellant handed him the heroin. He testified that he requested to have the Ford Edge that appellant was in stopped because he wanted a positive ID on Capo. He further testified that he placed the purchased heroin into evidence and requested that it be tested. Detective Green also testified about the December 27, 2016 buy. He testified that he searched the CI's person and purse, provided her with pre-recorded buy money and fit her with a transmitter. He testified that he was approximately 100 feet away with binoculars when he observed an exchange between the CI and appellant. He asked Detective Thomas to pick the CI up. After Detective Thomas obtained the drugs from the CI, he gave Detective Green the drugs and the CI was searched. Detective Green placed the drugs into evidence.

         {¶16} On cross-examination, Detective Green admitted that he did not actually see the transaction occur between the CI and appellant on December 15, 2016. With respect to the December 27, 2016 buy, he admitted that he lost eye contact with the CI while following appellant but testified that Detective Thomas did not.

         {¶17} There was testimony at trial regarding the chain of custody with respect to the heroin. At trial, Jennifer Acurio, a Bureau of Criminal Investigation forensic scientist, testified that she tested substances purported to be from the three drug buys. She testified that all contained heroin, a Schedule I drug.

         {¶18} At the conclusion of the evidence and the end of deliberations, the jury, on October 19, 2017, found appellant guilty of all three charges. As memorialized in a Judgment Entry filed on October 19, 2017, appellant was sentenced to one year on each count. The trial court ordered that ...


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