Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull
Criminal Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common
Pleas, Case No. 2015 CR 00610. Judgment: Affirmed.
Watkins, Trumbull County Prosecutor, Gabriel M. Wildman and
Ashleigh Musick, Assistant Prosecutors, (For
Michael A. Partlow, (For Defendant-Appellant).
V. GRENDELL, J.
Defendant-appellant, Donald W. DeWees, appeals his
convictions and sentences following a jury trial in the
Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas for Attempted Rape and
Kidnapping. The issues before this court are whether charges
for Kidnapping and Attempted Rape merge where the victim has
been moved to a secretive confinement before the attempt is
made to avoid detection and whether the victim's
alcoholism renders her testimony unbelievable where it is
inherently more probable than the defendant's version.
For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the
On September 12, 2016, the Trumbull County Grand Jury
indicted DeWees for Attempted Rape (Count 1), a felony of the
second degree in violation of R.C. 2923.02(A) and
2907.02(A)(2) and (B), and Kidnapping (Count 2), a felony of
the first degree in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(4) and
On September 15, 2016, DeWees was arraigned and entered pleas
of not guilty.
On February 27 and 28, 2017, the case was tried before a jury
at which the following testimony was given:
A.G.L. testified that she dated DeWees for about three and a
half years until November 2015, and that they remained
On August 5, 2016, A.G.L. made plans to spend the day fishing
with a new boyfriend, Daniel Pigg, at a canoe livery located
within walking distance of her home on East Jay Street in
Newton Falls. A.G.L. arrived at the livery at about 4:00 p.m.
Aware of her plans for the day, DeWees arrived next at the
livery with a cooler of beer which they began drinking. Pigg
arrived within a half-hour and the three engaged in casual
DeWees began asking questions about A.G.L. and Pigg's
relationship and then insulting A.G.L. A.G.L. described the
situation as awkward and she wanted to leave.
At about 6:00 p.m., A.G.L. left the livery having made
arrangements via text-messaging to meet Pigg later to go
camping. She went home to pack some camping gear in a book
bag and walked back to a paved trail (the Newton Falls Trail)
leading to the campsite.
As she emerged from a tunnel passing underneath railroad
track, DeWees confronted her, calling her a "cheat"
and a "liar" among other things, and they began to
argue. DeWees grabbed A.G.L. by the hair and neck and dragged
her up an incline about five or six feet from the trail.
DeWees pushed A.G.L. to the ground on her back and said that
he wanted to have his way with her before Pigg did. DeWees
sat on her and started to tear her clothes off. A.G.L.
resisted and DeWees punched her several times in the face.
DeWees took off her clothes (a tank top, boxers, and
"boy shorts") only leaving her bra on. DeWees then
stood up and A.G.L. kicked him hard in the groin. DeWees went
to the ground coughing.
A.G.L. was able to run back to the paved trail where she
grabbed a towel from her bookbag to cover herself. A.G.L.
continued running back to her home on Jay Street with DeWees
following her on a bicycle. At the house, she met Norman
Reese, who also resides at that address, and called 911. A
recording of the 911 call was played for the jury on which
A.G.L. told the dispatcher that DeWees "hit me several
times in the head and tried to rape me." A.G.L. had a
laceration on the side of her head, a bruised lip, and a
swollen face. There were other visible marks and injuries on
her neck and back.
On cross-examination, A.G.L. admitted she was an alcoholic
and had drunk about eight beers during the course of the day
on August 5. The defense also impeached A.G.L. with letters
she had written indicating that, contrary to her testimony on
direct, she was still involved with DeWees in December of
Daniel Pigg testified that he arrived at the canoe livery on
August 5, 2016, around 5:00 p.m. after leaving work for the
day. He drank about three beers before DeWees became upset
and began verbally abusing A.G.L. A.G.L. said she did not
have to take this and left. Pigg also left on the pretext
that he was going to buy more beer. Instead, he went home to
get camping gear and meet A.G.L. later that evening.
Pigg reached the campsite at approximately 9:00 p.m. After
waiting about forty-five minutes for A.G.L. to arrive, he
called her but she did not answer. He called her a second
time and she answered while running back to her home. She was
crying and emotional and told him that DeWees had just beat
her up and tried to rape her. Pigg could hear DeWees in the
background yelling that he did not do anything.
Norman J. Reese testified that, in August 2016, he was living
on East Jay Street with A.G.L., who was helping him take care
of himself following a stroke. At about 10:00 p.m. that
evening, A.G.L. came banging on the door (it was locked),
crying and dirty. A.G.L. was screaming at someone on a
bicycle and he was hollering back. When asked, A.G.L. said
that DeWees had beat her up and tried to rape her.
Adam C. Gilger of the Newton Falls Police Department was
dispatched to A.G.L's home on August 5, 2016. Gilger took
a verbal statement from A.G.L. but deferred taking a written
statement until the next day since she appeared intoxicated.
That evening, Gilger searched the trail by the tunnel for
A.G.L's clothes but did not find anything.
Sergeant Steven Storm of the Newton Falls Police Department
executed the warrant for DeWees' arrest on August 9,
2016. After being taken into custody, DeWees stated that he,
A.G.L., and Pigg had been drinking at the canoe livery.
A.G.L. and Pigg left and did not return. DeWees said he
eventually left also on his bicycle and came upon A.G.L. and
Pigg having sex by the railroad tunnel. ...