Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-16-611347-A
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Mary Elaine Hall
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Brandon Piteo Assistant Prosecuting
BEFORE: S. Gallagher, J., E.T. Gallagher, P.J., and Jones, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
Appellant Robert A. Littlejohn appeals his convictions on
counts of aggravated burglary and felonious assault with
associated three-year firearm specifications. Upon review, we
On November 15, 2016, appellant was charged under a
complicity theory with one count of aggravated burglary with
one- and three-year firearm specifications, seven counts of
felonious assault with one- and three-year firearm
specifications, and one count of having weapons while under
disability. A codefendant, Rosario D. Robinson, was charged
in the indictment as the principal offender. Although the
indictment originally identified one victim, the trial court
permitted the state to amend the indictment to reflect the
names of six victims in the case. The counts otherwise
remained the same. The case proceeded to a bench trial on
June 5, 2017.
The charges arose from an incident that occurred on November
2, 2016. Testimony at trial revealed that appellant drove
Robinson and another unidentified male, known only as
"Brick, " to a residence in Bedford, Ohio. The
victims' testimony reflected that three men entered the
residence together and went into a bedroom where the victims
were sitting. Appellant took "a wad" of money out
of his pocket to pay for marijuana, and soon thereafter
Robinson began firing multiple shots into the bedroom.
Several of the victims identified Littlejohn as the second
person to enter the room and the person who had the cash.
They identified Robinson as the third person to enter the
room, and described him as having dreadlocks and indicated he
had a gun and shot multiple bullets into the room. There was
some testimony to suggest that Brick also may have had a gun.
One of the victims who had been shot had a gun and returned
fire. Appellant and Robinson were both shot. Appellant,
Robinson, and Brick then left the house together, with Brick
driving the two others to the hospital. Appellant directed
Brick to take the vehicle to his place of work. Appellant
lied to detectives about how and where he was shot, and he
changed his story several times.
Appellant testified that he was taking the other two men to a
house they directed him to because they wanted to buy drugs,
that they wanted to borrow $40 from him to buy marijuana, and
that he did not see a gun on anyone with him. Appellant
claimed that there was a fourth person who came to the door
behind Robinson and pointed a gun at Robinson's face and
shot Robinson. He stated multiple shots were fired and that
he was shot on his way out of the room. Appellant maintained
that he and Robinson were victims.
Robinson also testified that a fourth person came to the door
and pointed a gun at his face. He claimed that he grabbed the
man's arm and was shot in the face. Robinson denied
having a gun on his person and claimed that he was just there
to buy marijuana.
The trial court granted appellant's Crim.R. 29 motion for
acquittal on Count 9 for having a weapon while under
disability. The motion was denied as to the other counts. The
trial court found appellant guilty of Counts 1-8, and guilty
of the firearm specifications attached to every count.
Following merger of offenses, the trial court sentenced
appellant to an aggregate prison term of 11
years. Additionally, the court ordered a one-year
prison term in Cuyahoga C.P. Nos. CR-15-596038-A,
CR-15-596012-A, and CR-15-595441-A to be served consecutively
to the 11-year term imposed in this case, for a total prison
term of 12 years. The trial court also imposed fines and
costs, and informed appellant of postrelease control.
Appellant timely filed this appeal. He raises two assignments
of error for our review. Under his first assignment of error,
appellant claims the trial court erred when it denied his
Crim.R. 29 motion for acquittal on Counts 1-8.
A motion for judgment of acquittal under Crim.R. 29(A)
requires a court to consider if the evidence is insufficient
to sustain a conviction. "The relevant inquiry is
whether, after viewing the evidence in a light most favorable
to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have
found the essential elements of the crime proven beyond a