Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Criminal Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common
Pleas Case No. CR-17-614825-A
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Mark A. Stanton Cuyahoga County
Public Defender Jeffrey Gamso Assistant County Public
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor BY: Jillian Eckart Assistant County
BEFORE: Jones, J., E.T. Gallagher, P.J., and S. Gallagher, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
A. JONES, SR, J.
Defendant-appellant Michelle Kronenberg
("Kronenberg") appeals her menacing by stalking
convictions that were rendered after a bench trial. She also
challenges the trial court's imposition of consecutive
sentences. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
In February 2017, Kronenberg was charged with three counts of
menacing by stalking in violation of R.C. 2903.211(A)(1). The
indictment charged that the offenses occurred on February 22,
2017, and there was a count for each of the three victims:
James LaMarca (Count 1), Mary Jo LaMarca (Count 2), and
Alysse LaMarca (Count 3). All three counts contained
"furthermore" clauses, that alleged that Kronenberg
"trespassed on the land or premises where the victim
lives, is employed, or attends school."
The state filed a notice of intent to use other acts evidence
pursuant to Evid.R. 404(B). After competency issues were
addressed, Kronenberg waived her rights to both counsel and a
jury trial, and the matter proceeded to a bench trial with
Kronenberg representing herself with stand-by counsel. After
its deliberation, the court found Kronenberg guilty as
indicted. The court sentenced her to the maximum term of 18
months for each count and ordered that the sentences be
served consecutively. Kronenberg now appeals and presents the
following assignments of error for our review:
I. The evidence was insufficient to convict Ms. Kronenberg on
Count 1 of the indictment because there was no evidence that
any action by Ms. Kronenberg would knowingly cause James
LaMarca to believe that she would cause him physical harm or
II. The evidence was insufficient to convict Ms. Kronenberg
on Counts 2 and 3 of the indictment because there was no
evidence of a "pattern of conduct" on her part in
relationship to the alleged victims of those counts.
III. The evidence was insufficient to convict Ms. Kronenberg
of menacing by stalking because none of the alleged victims
[were] aware of any "pattern of conduct" that would
cause them to believe that she would cause any [of] them to
suffer physical harm or mental distress.
IV. The trial court did not make the findings necessary to
support the imposition of consecutive sentences.
and Other Acts Evidence
James and Mary Jo LaMarca are husband and wife, and Alysse is
their adult daughter; at all relevant times, they resided
together in Mayfield Heights. All three testified at trial.
Kronenberg and James LaMarca met in the late 1980's,
early 1990's, when Kronenberg worked for James's
funeral home business. Kronenberg did telemarketing for the
business, soliciting people to prearrange their funerals.
Approximately one year into her employment with the business,
however, the telemarketing program was eliminated, and
Kronenberg lost her job.
Initially, James and Kronenberg kept in touch. James
testified that they were "friends"; he never had
any romantic interest in Kronenberg, but she confided a lot
of her personal problems to him. They would communicate via
each other's cell and home phones, as well as by email.
James testified that Kronenberg's contact with him
eventually got excessive; for example, at times she called
him "hundreds of times" during the course of one
day, and would write page-long "rambling" emails.
James testified that in 2000, he told Kronenberg not to call
him anymore, and that request made Kronenberg upset.
Kronenberg did not honor the request, however, and she would
call James's cell and home numbers as well as the funeral
home number. After this point in time, the LaMarca
family's interactions with Kronenberg were what they
described as "harassing" and "scary" and
led them to seek legal intervention.
In 2003, James sought and was granted, through the Lyndhurst
Municipal Court, a no-contact order for himself, Mary Jo, and
Alysse. The order was effective for one year. When the order
expired, Kronenberg started contacting James again.
In 2008, Kronenberg was sentenced to two years of community
control sanctions for seven counts of telecommunications
harassment of the LaMarca family. See Cuyahoga C.P.
No. CR-08-508145. Shortly after she was sentenced, Kronenberg
violated the sanctions and was sent to Northcoast Behavioral
Health Care for six months.
In March 2010, James sought and was granted a civil
protection order for himself and his family. Kronenberg was
arrested in September 2010, after she went to the
LaMarca's house. She was convicted of violating the
protection order, telecommunications harassment, and criminal
trespass, and was sentenced to a three-year prison term.
See Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-11-548068. Upon her release
in 2013, Kronenberg contacted the LaMarca family and was
sentenced to another three-year prison term. See
Cuyahoga C.P. No. CR-13-579027.
Kronenberg was released from prison on February 19, 2017.
James testified that on February 21, 2017, she called his
cell phone approximately 11 times. He did not tell Mary Jo
and Alysse about the calls. Then, on February 22, 2017, at
approximately 12:30 a.m., Kronenberg showed up at the LaMarca
Alysse testified that she was awakened by the ringing
doorbell and "pounding" on the door of their home.
She was "extremely frightened, panicked, scared [and]
had no idea what was happening * * *." She woke her
parents up, and her mother called the police. She did not
initially know it was Kronenberg who was at the door, and
when she learned that it was her, she became "extremely