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State v. Barrow

Court of Appeals of Ohio, First District, Hamilton

May 2, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
ANTHONY BARROW, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal From: Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas TRIAL NO. B-1400664-B

          Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, and Melynda Machol, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, for Plaintiff-Appellee,

          Jeffrey Brandt, for Defendant-Appellant.


          DETERS, JUDGE.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant Anthony Barrow appeals his kidnapping conviction. He assigns as error the trial court's admission of evidence, its failure to grant his motion for a mistrial for an alleged Brady violation, the sufficiency and weight of the evidence supporting his conviction, and the trial court's and his counsel's handling of a claimed conflict of interest near the end of the trial. Finding none of his assigned errors meritorious, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Evidence Adduced at the Jury Trial

         {¶2} Barrow and codefendants Andre Buck, Lonnie Rucker, and Timothy Watson were indicted for multiple offenses in connection with the kidnapping of Tyrell George. Barrow was charged with one count of kidnapping in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(1), and two counts of having a weapon while under a disability in violation of R.C. 2923.13(A)(2) and (3). The kidnapping count carried one- and three-year firearm specifications and a repeat-violent-offender ("RVO") specification. Barrow and Buck were tried together before a jury. The evidence adduced at their trial was summarized in State v. Buck, Hamilton App. No. C-160320, 2017-Ohio-8242, ¶ 29-33:

At the jury trial, the state presented the testimony of Tyrell George, his brother, Timothy Kellam, codefendant Lonnie Rucker, a telephone-records custodian, forensic specialists, and multiple investigators, including Detective [William] Hilbert and Officer [Timothy] Bley, in addition to numerous exhibits.
Telephone records revealed that on the morning of February 6, 2014, Buck and his codefendant Anthony Barrow communicated about 20 times and in one text, Buck had asked Barrow, "Babysitter still on dek?" The term babysitter referred to a person who watched over a kidnapped victim to make sure he would not escape, while other kidnappers secured ransom money.
Later that day, Barrow called George on the pretense of wanting to buy marijuana. George did not know Barrow, but Barrow convinced him that he had bought marijuana from George before. The two exchanged calls and agreed to meet. When George met up with Barrow, he got into Barrow's van, where he was assaulted by Barrow and a second man. The men bound George with duct tape, wiped his clothing and neck with bleach, and then drove away.
George was moved into a second van where two more kidnappers, Timothy Watson and Lonnie Rucker, "babysat" him through the night and into the next day.
Rucker testified that Watson had contacted him on February 6th about being a babysitter. That night, Rucker picked up Watson and drove to a spot where a person was tied up in the back of a van. Watson said they had to sit and watch the victim until the other kidnappers came back with the money.

         {¶3} During this same time, George's mother, after learning from Kellam that George had been kidnapped for ransom, had contacted the police. Uniformed officers escorted Kellam to the police station where he worked with the police, particularly Detective Hilbert, by communicating with the kidnappers and arranging two ransom drops in an effort to locate and secure George's safe return. When these ransom drops proved unsuccessful, Detective Hilbert became more and more concerned for George's safety.

          {¶4} As we stated in Buck, Hamilton App. No. C-160320, 2017-Ohio-8242, ¶ 35-47:

* * * [T]he police were ultimately able to locate Buck and a phone that had been used to make ransom calls. At trial, Officer Bley clarified that Buck's phone was recovered from Buck's pocket.
Buck was arrested at about 9:30 a.m., on the 7th, but the police still had no idea where George was.
Within hours of Buck's arrest, Watson and Rucker were frustrated that the ransom had not been paid and were concerned that Kellam had gone to the police. So they left the area, leaving George alone in the van.
At about 2:00 p.m., George escaped from the van and ran to a nearby home. The occupant called the police who responded, and the police brought George to the homicide unit. The police recovered pieces of duct tape from George's socks, noted bleach stains on his clothing, and photographed abrasions on his wrists, caused by the duct tape.
Police recovered the van that George had escaped from. In the van, they found duct tape, pieces of mail addressed to Barrow, and Barrow's and Watson's fingerprints.
Telephone records revealed that Kellam had received about 45 ransom calls from two different telephone numbers, (513) 498-2051 and a second number that Barrow admitted was his.
A Cincinnati Bell representative, Paula Papke, testified that the "IMEI, which is basically the serial number for the phone, which would be contained within the phone itself for Buck's cell phone matched the IMEI listed in the subscriber record for (513) 498-2051, a prepaid account. She said that subscribers who use prepaid accounts usually provide fictitious personal information when setting up the account. Prepaid-account subscribers have to provide a date of birth as the password for the account, and, without the password, a subscriber cannot access the account. Papke said that many pre-paid account subscribers provide a date of birth that is a single digit off from their actual birthdate. She said that the number (513) 498-2051 was subscribed in the name "Tone Montrell, " and that the account password was "11/2/76." Buck's date of birth is November 2, 1977.
Telephone records confirmed that Buck and Barrow communicated with each other and with Kellam and Watson through the evening of the 6th and the morning of the 7th. In addition, the records confirmed that Buck's cell phone "pinged" off cell towers at times and locations that corresponded to those of George's abduction, the ...

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