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State v. Leasock

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Trumbull

May 7, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
JOSEPH ANTHONY LEASOCK, Defendant-Appellant.

          Criminal Appeal from the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. Case No. 2016 CR 00604.

          Dennis Watkins, Trumbull County Prosecutor; Ashleigh Musick and Diane Barber, Assistant Prosecutors, (For Plaintiff-Appellee).

          Michael A. Partlow, Kent, (For Defendant-Appellant).


          TIMOTHY P. CANNON, J.

         {¶1} Appellant, Joseph Anthony Leasock, appeals from the July 5, 2017 entry on sentence of the Trumbull County Court of Common Pleas. Appellant was found guilty of Robbery after a jury trial. Appellant contends his conviction was against the manifest weight of the evidence. For the following reasons, the judgment of the trial court is affirmed.

         {¶2} On September 12, 2016, appellant was indicted by the Trumbull County Grand Jury of one count of Robbery, a second-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2911.02(A)(2). He entered a plea of not guilty.

         {¶3} A superseding indictment filed on January 4, 2017, included a repeat violent offender specification pursuant to R.C. 2941.149 with the Robbery charge. Appellant again entered a plea of not guilty.

         {¶4} The matter proceeded to a jury trial on March 20, 2017. The jury found appellant guilty of Robbery.

         {¶5} At trial, Anthony Palozzo testified he operates a business out of his residence and lives with his girlfriend, Heather, and two German Shepherds, "Shultz" and "Chloe." On July 21, 2016, John Serratta paid him an unexpected visit at his residence. Mr. Palozzo testified he gave Mr. Serratta a $50 bill to go buy a 12-pack of beer. Mr. Palozzo explained he had "probably a couple thousand dollars" in his left pants pocket. The money was both personal and for his business, and he testified Mr. Serratta saw all the money. Mr. Serratta returned with "35 or 38 bucks." After drinking a few beers, Mr. Serratta indicated he would come back later to play pool.

         {¶6} At around 9:30 p.m., Mr. Serratta returned with appellant, Robert Brian Leasock ("Brian"), and an unidentified female. Appellant and Brian played pool, while Mr. Palozzo talked to Mr. Serratta. Mr. Palozzo testified the unidentified female remained outside with "Chloe."

         {¶7} Sometime later, appellant, Brian, and Mr. Serratta were outside smoking cigarettes and talking about "beating people up and robbing people." Mr. Palozzo testified he was standing in the doorway and announced he was going to bed. Mr. Palozzo testified Brian then threatened him and began coming up the steps to the doorway. Mr. Palozzo attempted to shut the door, but the door was pushed open. Mr. Palozzo testified he fell backwards, and Brian grabbed him. Appellant took off Mr. Palozzo's glasses and threw them, and appellant and Brian punched him in the face. Mr. Palozzo broke away, but Brian grabbed him from behind and attempted to pull him down to the ground, while appellant punched him in the face. When appellant and Brian could not get Mr. Palozzo to the ground, appellant stated they would have to kill him. Brian continued to restrain Mr. Palozzo, while appellant searched through his shirt pocket. Mr. Palozzo testified they ripped his shirt pocket. They took approximately $40 and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. When "Shultz" came around the corner, the attack stopped, and appellant and Brian left. After appellant and Brian left, Mr. Palozzo testified he could not find "Chloe" and thought they had taken her. He further testified he sustained an injury to his nose and bruising over his arms, chest, and face from the attack. He did not go to the hospital but took Advil to relieve the pain from the injuries.

         {¶8} Mr. Palozzo testified he woke up Heather, and she called 911. The recording of the 911 call was entered into evidence and played for the jury. Mr. Palozzo testified he did not know the last names of appellant and Brian but was able to confirm their identities by making phone calls and looking at pictures on Facebook. Mr. Palozzo testified he reported to police that appellant and Brian took money from him and that his cell phone and dog were missing. The police took photos of Mr. Palozzo's injuries, and those photos were shown to the jury and entered into evidence.

         {¶9} Mr. Palozzo testified that, sometime after the police left, he found his phone under a shelf, approximately 15 to 20 feet away from where the incident occurred. Mr. Palozzo testified no part of the struggle took place near where the phone was found. "Chloe" was also found.

         {¶10} On cross-examination, Mr. Palozzo testified that appellant and Brian went through his shirt pocket. Defense counsel entered the police report of the incident into evidence. When shown the report, ...

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