Court of Appeals of Ohio, Seventh District, Jefferson
Criminal Appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Jefferson
County, Ohio Case No. 16 CR 189
Samuel Pate, Jefferson County Prosecutor's Office, for
Eric Reszke, for Defendant-Appellant.
BEFORE: Gene Donofrio, Cheryl L. Waite, Carol Ann Robb,
OPINION AND JUDGMENT ENTRY
Defendant-appellant, Brian Bruce, appeals from a Jefferson
County Common Pleas Court judgment sentencing him to 30 years
in prison following his guilty plea to four counts of
felonious assault, aggravated burglary, kidnapping, and
On December 1, 2016, appellant went to the Super 8 Motel in
Jefferson County in search of D.W. D.W. had recently obtained
a civil protection order against appellant. When he arrived
at the motel, appellant pretended to be D.W.'s brother in
order to gain access to D.W.'s room. When D.W. opened the
door, appellant threatened to kill her. They then began to
fight. Appellant hit D.W. and stabbed her with a knife.
Appellant eventually took D.W. from the hotel and drove her
to his brother's house. Appellant then asked a friend, Ed
Walker, to give them a ride to Bergholz. D.W. got into
Walker's truck and appellant went back into the house to
retrieve his cell phone. When appellant went into the house,
D.W. told Walker what appellant had done to her and said that
appellant was going to kill her. Walker drove away with D.W.
They stopped a Steubenville Police Officer who called an
ambulance to transport D.W. to the hospital.
Walker then went to the city of Bergholz to a friend's
house and fell asleep in his truck outside of the house. He
awoke to appellant beating and stabbing him.
On December 7, 2016, a Jefferson County Grand Jury indicted
appellant on four charges relating to D.W.: one count of
felonious assault, a second-degree felony in violation of
R.C. 2903.11(A)(1); one count of felonious assault, a
second-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(2); one
count of aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony in
violation of R.C. 2911.11(A)(1); and one count of kidnapping,
a first-degree felony in violation of R.C. 2905.01(A)(3). The
grand jury also indicted appellant on three charges relating
to Walker: one count of attempted murder, a first-degree
felony in violation of R.C. 2903.02(A) and R.C. 2923.02(A);
one count of felonious assault, a second-degree felony in
violation of R.C. 2903.11(A)(1); and one count of felonious
assault, a second-degree felony in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(2). Appellant initially pleaded not guilty.
Appellant subsequently changed his plea and entered a guilty
plea to all charges in the indictment. The trial court
accepted appellant's plea and found him guilty of all
charges. The court then proceeded immediately to sentencing.
For purposes of sentencing, the trial court found that Count
One merged into Count Two (the two counts of felonious
assault against Wiley). It also found that Counts Six and
Seven (the two counts of felonious assault against Walker)
merged into Count Five (the attempted murder count).
Therefore, the court sentenced appellant to six years in
prison for felonious assault, six years for aggravated
burglary, eight years for kidnapping, and ten years for
attempted murder. The court ordered appellant to serve these
sentences consecutively for a total prison term of 30 years.
Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal on August 20, 2017.
He now raises a single assignment of error.
Appellant's assignment of error states:
THE TRIAL COURT COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR IN SENTENCING THE
DEFENDANT TO A PRISON ...