Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Waller

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Fourth District, Adams

May 10, 2018

STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
NATHANIEL WALLER, Defendant-Appellant.

          CRIMINAL APPEAL FROM COMMON PLEAS COURT

          Timothy Young, Ohio Public Defender, and Katherine R. Ross-Kinzie, Assistant State Public Defender, Columbus, Ohio, for appellant.

          David Kelley, Adams County Prosecutor, and Kris D. Blanton, Adams County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, West Union, Ohio, for appellee.

          DECISION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY

          ABELE, J.

         {¶ 1} This is an appeal from an Adams County Common Pleas Court judgment of conviction and sentence. A jury found Nathaniel Waller, defendant below and appellant herein, guilty of (1) the illegal manufacture of drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.04(A), a second-degree felony, and (2) the illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in violation of R.C. 2925.041(A), a third-degree felony.

         {¶ 2} Appellant assigns the following errors for review:

FIRST ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT VIOLATED MR. WALLER'S RIGHTS TO DUE PROCESS AND A FAIR TRIAL WHEN, IN THE ABSENCE OF SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE, IT FAILED TO GRANT HIS CRIM.R. 29 MOTIONS AS TO THE ILLEGAL MANUFACTURING OF METHAMPHETAMINES, AND THE ILLEGAL ASSEMBLY OR POSSESSION OF CHEMICALS FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF DRUGS (METHAMPHETAMINE). FIFTH AND
FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION; ARTICLE I, SECTION 16 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION; CRIM.R. 29; TRIAL TRANSCRIPT P. 307, 310; MARCH 27, 2017 JUDGMENT ENTRY ON SENTENCE)"
SECOND ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"MR. WALLER'S CONVICTION [SIC.} FOR ILLEGAL MANUFACTURING AND ILLEGAL ASSEMBLY WERE AGAINST THE MANIFEST WIGHT OF THE EVIDENCE IN VIOLATION OF MR. WALLER'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW UNDER THE FIFTH AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENTS TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, AND ARTICLE I, SECTION 10 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION. (MARCH 27, 2017 JUDGMENT ENTRY ON SENTENCE) "
THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR:
"THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT DID NOT ALLOW DEFENSE COUNSEL TO ADMIT RELEVANT EVIDENCE AND THUS IMPEDED MR. WALLER'S ABILITY TO DEFEND HIMSELF AGAINST THE CHARGES LEVIED AGAINST HIM, IN VIOLATION OF HIS FIFTH, SIXTH, AND FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT RIGHTS UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, AND ARTICLE I, SECTIONS 10 AND 16 OF THE OHIO CONSTITUTION. (TRIAL TRANSCRIPT P. 280)"

         {¶ 3} On August 4, 2016, an Adams County Grand Jury returned an indictment that charged appellant with (1) one count of knowingly manufacturing or engaging in a part of the production of methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance, in violation of R.C. 2925.04(A), a second-degree felony, and (2) one count of knowingly assembling or possessing one or more chemicals that may be used to manufacture a controlled substance in Schedule II, to wit: starting fluid, drain cleaner and sulfuric acid, with the intent to manufacture a Schedule II controlled substance, to wit: Methamphetamine, in violation of R.C. 2925.041(A), a third-degree felony.

         {¶ 4} Appellant entered not guilty pleas and filed a motion to suppress evidence and asserted that law enforcement authorities improperly seized evidence during the search of his office. The trial court overruled the motion and the matter proceeded to trial. At the jury trial, the evidence revealed that on July 26, 2016 at 2:30 a.m., officers received a tip and visited Timber Ridge Apartments. Adams County Sheriffs Deputy Brandon Asbury testified that he noticed lights on in the apartment administration building and a strong chemical odor that appeared to get stronger as he approached the building. Deputy Asbury recognized the smell of starting fluid and noticed that it emanated from the lighted administration building, where he could also see appellant and two females inside the building. From his training and experience, Deputy Asbury knew that the odor typically indicated the manufacture of methamphetamine. Deputy Asbury then detained the three suspects outside of the building and informed them of their Miranda rights.

         {¶ 5} When Deputy Asbury and Sergeant Michael Mills entered the building, they found "a two liter bottle that had been cut off sitting on the table. There was some lithium batteries. There was some Drain-O. Some starting fluid. Most of the components that I mentioned earlier that are used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine I located inside of that room." In addition, Deputy Asbury testified that they also found lye, salt and ammonia nitrate pellets from cold packs in what appeared to be a break room. Deputy Asbury also testified that when he found appellant, he did not appear to be performing any type of maintenance work at 2:30 that morning.

         {¶ 6} Sergeant Michael Mills testified that during nightly patrols, he would glance at the apartment office and, although the lights were usually off in the early morning hours, on July 26, 2016 the lights were on. Sergeant Mills stated that, after he arrived, he immediately noticed meth lab odor. He also investigated a van as it left the parking lot while Deputy Asbury investigated the office. Sergeant Mills spoke to the van driver, who allowed him to search the vehicle. After Sergeant Mills determined that the van had nothing to do with the apartments, he let the driver go and joined Deputy Asbury.

         {¶ 7} Inside, Sergeant Mills found a plastic two liter soft drink bottle with the top cut off, with liquid around and inside the bottle. "There was a baggy of white beads which are extracted from a cold pack, with the ammonia nitrate that they use." In addition, Sergeant Mills testified that they located a porcelain jar next to the refrigerator, and chemicals on a shelf in the break room. Sergeant Mills indicated that the bottle had a smell that he associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine, and a powdery substance in and around it, which is the methamphetamine. Sergeant Mills also found Double Mint Gum wrappers on the desk.

         {¶ 8} Sergeant Mills further testified that another officer found a plastic bucket inside of a privacy fence, with access from the break room to the bucket's location. Inside the bucket, officers found an actual meth lab with chemicals mixed together. On top of the bucket was the top portion of the two liter bottle, with a Double Mint Gum packet wrapped around the opening. Also, the top portion ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.