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State v. Walton

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Third District, Logan

April 30, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
ALEXUS E. WALTON, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

          Appeal from Logan County Common Pleas Court Trial Court No. CR16-12-0337

          Steven R. Fansler for Appellant

          Alice Robinson-Bond for Appellee

          OPINION

          WILLAMOWSKI, P.J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Alexus E. Walton ("Walton") appeals the judgment of the Logan County Court of Common Pleas, alleging that the trial court did not properly balance the seriousness and recidivism factors in sentencing her. For the reasons set forth below, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         Facts and Procedural History

         {¶2} On November 24, 2016, Walton's boyfriend, MarQuevous Watkins ("Watkins") asked her to give him, Zachariah Huddleston ("Huddleston"), T.F., and J.L. a ride to Jeffrey Brentlinger's ("Brentlinger") house. Walton agreed to drive these four passengers after she was offered forty dollars in gas money. Walton was aware that T.F. and J.L. were going to Brentlinger's house to perform sexual acts with Brentlinger in exchange for money. Tr. 8. Walton claims that she was unaware that T.F., J.L., Huddleston, and Watkins intended to rob Brentlinger. However, on the way to Brentlinger's house, Walton, at the direction of her four passengers, drove to Walmart where she participated in the theft of ski masks and duct tape. Tr. 12, 15. Further, Watkins told the police that the four passengers discussed their plan to rob Brentlinger while they were in the car with Walton.

         {¶3} As Walton approached Brentlinger's house, she turned off her headlights. Tr. 15. J.L. and T.F. then got out of the car and went into the house. Watkins and Huddleston followed, wearing ski masks as they left the vehicle. Tr. 15. Inside the home, Watkins pulled out a gun and shot Brentlinger, who died shortly after suffering this injury. The four passengers then stole several items and fled the scene. Walton was waiting for them in the car and drove Watkins, Huddleston, J.L., and T.F. away. Tr. 15.

         {¶4} Walton was charged with one count of complicity to aggravated robbery in violation of R.C. 2911.01(A)(1), R.C. 2923.03; one count of complicity to aggravated burglary in violation of R.C. 2911.11(A)(1), R.C. 2923.03; one count of complicity to murder in violation of R.C. 2903.02(B), R.C. 2923.03; and one count of complicity to tampering with evidence in violation of R.C. 2923.03(A)(2), R.C. 2921.12(A)(1). Doc. 2, 47. On October 2, 2017, Walton pled guilty to one count of complicity to aggravated robbery. Doc. 135. The remaining charges against her were dismissed. Doc. 137. Prior to this conviction, Walton's criminal record consisted of one disorderly conduct conviction and a speeding ticket. Tr. 20. At her sentencing hearing on November 9, 2017, the State recommended a prison sentence of seven years. Tr. 1, 15. The Defense asked that the trial court consider a prison sentence of three or four years. Tr. 14. On December 1, 2017, Walton was sentenced to a term of five years in prison. Doc. 142.

         Assignment of Error

         {¶5} Appellant filed notice of appeal on December 11, 2017. Doc. 155. On appeal, appellant raises the following assignment of error:

The court erred in balancing the seriousness and recidivism factors as components of its sentence.

         In her brief, Walton argues that the seriousness of the crimes of her compatriots was attributed to her in the sentencing process. She asserts that seriousness and recidivism factors, when applied to her individual conduct, show that her sentence is unnecessarily harsh.

         Legal Standard

         {¶6} Trial courts are to sentence convicted felons in accordance with the overriding ...


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