Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga
Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT John T. Castele
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Michael C. O'Malley Cuyahoga
County Prosecutor By: Maxwell Martin Assistant County
BEFORE: Laster Mays, J., Kilbane, P.J., and S. Gallagher, J.
JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION
LASTER MAYS, JUDGE
Defendant-appellant Richard R. Amey ("Amey")
appeals his conviction for voluntary manslaughter and asks
this court to reverse his conviction and remand to the trial
court for a new trial. We vacate and remand.
Amey was indicted on two counts of murder, a first-degree
felony, in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A) and (B); two counts
of felonious assault, first-degree felonies, in violation of
R.C. 2903.11(A)(1) and (2); voluntary manslaughter, a first-
degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2903.03(A); tampering
with evidence, a third- degree felony, in violation of R.C.
2921.12(A)(1); and having weapons while under disability, a
third-degree felony, in violation of R.C. 2913.13(A)(2) and
2913.13(A)(3). All of the counts, with the exception of
having weapons while under disability, carried one- and
three-year firearm specifications.
At the end of a bench trial, the trial court found Amey
guilty of voluntary manslaughter and both counts of having
weapons while under disability, and not guilty of the other
charges. Amey was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for
voluntary manslaughter, three years imprisonment for the
firearm specification, and three years for having weapons
while under disability, which was to be served concurrently
to the seven years for voluntary manslaughter. The trial
court ordered a total of ten years imprisonment.
On February 25, 2016, at the Garden Valley apartment complex,
Amey and the victim, La'Dale Davis ("Davis")
got into a physical altercation. Davis attacked Amey while
Amey was walking with Davis's ex-girlfriend, Janice
Gresham ("Gresham"). One of the apartment security
officers testified that he saw Davis pounding on Amey, and
despite him and the other officer telling Davis to stop,
Davis would not stop. The officers tried using pepper spray
on Davis, but that did not stop Davis from beating Amey. The
officers eventually had to pull Davis off of Amey. After the
altercation, Amey left the scene.
Around 12:30 a.m., Gresham called Amey over to Shatwoyne
Range's ("Range") apartment. After being at the
apartment for a while, Amey decided to walk Gresham to her
apartment. While inside the building complex, they were
confronted by Davis again. Davis was waiting in Graham's
stairwell. Davis and Gresham began arguing, and Davis
instructed Gresham to enter her apartment and retrieve items
that he gave her while they were dating. Gresham's
mother, whom she shared her apartment with, barricaded the
door after hearing the altercation. Gresham convinced her
mother to remove the barricade and allow her to enter.
At this time, Davis forced his way into the apartment and
began throwing things around. Amey remained outside of the
apartment. Gresham left the apartment and started down the
steps when Davis grabbed and punched her in the side of the
head causing her to fall on the stairs. Gresham screamed and
ran back into the apartment and closed the door. Shortly
thereafter, Gresham heard two gunshots and went back outside
of the apartment. She saw Davis lying on the steps, and Amey
was no longer there.
After the police interviewed Gresham and her mother, they
arrested Amey and brought him in for an interview. During the
interview, Amey told police that Davis tried to attack him
again on the stairs. Amey also stated that Davis told him
that he was going to kill him. At that point, Amey pulled his
gun and fired twice. One bullet hit Davis and killed him.
Amey was charged with seven counts including murder,
felonious assault, voluntary manslaughter, tampering with
evidence, and having weapons while under disability. The
trial court found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter and
having weapons while under disability. While rendering the
verdict, the trial court reasoned that Amey was not guilty of
murder because he did not purposefully kill Davis. The trial
court also found Amey not guilty of felonious assault because
it reasoned that Amey did not knowingly cause physical harm
to Davis. Amey was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
Amey filed this appeal, assigning two errors for our review:
I. The state failed to prove sufficient evidence as to each
and every necessary element to prove the offense of voluntary
II. The defendant's conviction for voluntary manslaughter
was against the manifest weight of the evidence.
Sufficient and Manifest Weight of the Evidence
In Amey's assignment of errors, he argues that there was
not sufficient evidence to prove he committed voluntary
manslaughter. He also contends that his conviction for
voluntary manslaughter was against the manifest weight the
When an appellate court reviews a record upon a sufficiency
challenge, '"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 reasonable
doubt.'" State v. Leonard, 104 Ohio St.3d
54, 2004 Ohio 6235, 818 N.E.2d 229, ¶ 77, quoting
State v. Jenks, 61 Ohio St.3d 259, 574 N.E.2d 492
(1991), paragraph two of the syllabus.
In reviewing a claim challenging the manifest weight of the
evidence, [t]he question to be answered * * * is whether
there is substantial evidence upon which a jury could
reasonably conclude that all the elements have been proved
beyond a reasonable doubt. In conducting this review, we must
examine the entire record, weigh the evidence and all
reasonable inferences, consider the credibility of the
witnesses, and determine whether the jury clearly lost its
way and created such a manifest miscarriage of justice that
the conviction must be reversed and a new trial ordered.
(Internal quotes and citations omitted.) Leonard at
State v. Walker, 8th Dist. Cuyahoga No. 97648,
2012-Ohio-4274, ¶ 33-34.
Amey's specifically argues that there was no proof he
acted knowingly in the killing of Davis. R.C. ...