from the Stark County Court of Common Pleas, Case No.
Plaintiff-Appellee: JOHN D. FERRERO, JR. STARK CO. PROSECUTOR
KRISTINE W. BEARD
Defendant-Appellant: GEORGE URBAN
William B. Hoffman, P.J. Hon. Patricia A. Delaney, J. Hon.
Craig R. Baldwin, J.
Appellant Richard Stanton Whitman appeals from the May 5,
2017 Judgment Entry of conviction and sentence of the Stark
County Court of Common Pleas. Appellee is the state of Ohio.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The following facts are adduced from the record of
appellant's jury trial.
Appellant is the brother of Janeann Whitman. On November 28,
2016, appellant was living in an upstairs bedroom in
Janeann's residence on Hursh Place Northwest in the city
of Canton. Janeann's niece, Kendra Brabazon, also lived
at the residence with her two small children. Kendra was
staying at the house temporarily. Consequently, Kendra's
boxes, furniture, and mattresses were scattered around the
Appellant is described as a chronic alcoholic who was usually
intoxicated, and Kendra described appellant as visibly
intoxicated on November 28, 2016. That morning, a dispute
arose while Janeann was at work. Kendra and appellant briefly
argued when appellant came downstairs and told Kendra to take
his dogs out; she said she would "in a minute."
Appellant returned upstairs but came back down to find
Kendra's children pulling toys out of boxes. Appellant
became agitated because he had cleaned the toys up at one
point. Appellant told Kendra and the children to put the toys
away but Kendra said they didn't have to. Appellant
briefly returned upstairs, came back down, grabbed a box of
toys, and took it outside. He placed Kendra's property in
the front yard and said Kendra and her children could
Kendra called Janeann at work and told her about the
confrontation. Kendra and the children then left the house to
go to the restaurant where Janeann was working. Janeann
called appellant and told him to put Kendra's property
back in the house and chided him that it wasn't up to him
to throw Kendra out of the house.
Janeann also called a friend, David Eadie, and asked him to
go to the house to make sure appellant brought Kendra's
property back inside. Eadie and Janeann had worked together,
dated, and lived together at one point. Their relationship
was now described as "friends" but Janeann and
Kendra acknowledged they relied on Eadie to help them
frequently, with virtually "everything." Eadie
agreed to meet Kendra at the house upon her return.
first encounter between Eadie and appellant: Eadie admonishes
appellant for putting Kendra's property out
Eadie met Kendra at the house between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. He
walked into the house with Kendra and her children and
appellant came downstairs. Eadie said he wanted to talk but
appellant told him to get out. Eadie told appellant it was up
to Janeann who was allowed to be in the house, and told
appellant to leave Kendra and her kids alone. Kendra also
testified that Eadie accused appellant of laying around
drinking all day, not helping with bills, and said if there
was a problem he (Eadie) would take care of it. Appellant
told Eadie to "take care of it, then" but Eadie
said he wasn't going to touch appellant in front of the
Appellant went back upstairs and Eadie stayed for a while,
talking to Kendra and the kids. Eadie left. Janeann came home
from work and Kendra left for a short period.
When Kendra returned to the house, she found Janeann very
upset. Janeann was sitting on the couch texting appellant,
even though he was in his bedroom upstairs. Janeann told
Kendra appellant had taken her gun, a Smith and Wesson .9
millimeter, broken it up, and buried it in pieces in the
backyard. Janeann went upstairs and argued in person with
appellant. Kendra heard her say, "Don't point that
gun at me."
Kendra climbed over the baby gate at the bottom of the steps
and went upstairs to see what the problem was. She saw
appellant holding a .22 shotgun and asked what was going on.
Janeann said appellant took her gun and was now pointing the
rifle at her and at himself. Kendra told Janeann she was
taking her kids and leaving. Janeann told Kendra she
didn't know what to do about appellant; she considered
calling the police and trying to get him put in jail to sober
up, or to get a psychiatric evaluation. She also considered
calling Eadie and asking him again to "handle it."
Kendra told her to call the police and left with her kids;
she went to a neighbor's house down the street.
encounter: Eadie takes .22 rifle from appellant
Janeann testified on behalf of appellant at trial. She
acknowledged Kendra called her at work on November 28 and
complained about appellant putting her things outside;
Janeann called David Eadie and asked him to handle it while
she was at work.
Janeann described the incident with appellant pointing the
.22 rifle in greater detail. Upon her return home from work,
appellant texted her from the bedroom and the two argued. She
went upstairs to confront him and found him sitting on his
bed with the .22 rifle. Janeann testified appellant pointed
the rifle first at her and then at himself, but claimed she
never felt threatened and he didn't make any threats
toward her; instead, Janeann believed he might harm himself.
She said she yelled at him and went back downstairs. She
hoped to distract appellant from hurting himself.
Downstairs, Janeann texted another sister and said she
intended to call the police, but her sister responded that
appellant would "go crazy" if she called the
police. Janeann decided instead to call Eadie again, to
"talk him down." Eadie agreed to return to speak to
appellant and Janeann went back upstairs. Appellant remained
in his room and she went to her own room.
Janeann realized Eadie had returned when she heard a loud
"wham," which she said was Eadie slamming appellant
against the wall. Janeann came into the room and tried to
pull the two apart, and all three fell to the ground. Janeann
said Eadie was on top of appellant with his hand on his
throat. At one point, though, appellant had a machete in his
hand. Eventually the scuffle ended and Eadie took whatever
weapons he could find out of the room, including the machete
and the .22 rifle. Janeann went downstairs and Eadie also
came down, placing the rifle behind a mattress.
Eadie then attempted to lure appellant downstairs by yelling
to him that he was letting appellant's dogs out.
and fatal encounter: Appellant fires on Eadie three
Janeann said Eadie went back upstairs to investigate a
strange green light on the wall. As he climbed the steps,
Janeann said she didn't want him to return upstairs
because he "just kept beating on [her] brother."
Eadie continued upstairs and Janeann grabbed her phone.
She heard three shots from upstairs and ran from the house
calling 911. Appellant came downstairs and told her he shot
Eadie. When she asked why, he said "he was coming after
In the meantime, when she arrived at the neighbor's
house, Kendra discovered a missed call from Janeann and
called her back. Janeann said Eadie was at the house beating
up appellant, requiring Janeann to get in between them.
Kendra told her to call the police but Janeann said her phone
was about to die and asked Kendra to call instead. Kendra
refused and Janeann hung up.
Kendra waited five minutes and tried to call Janeann again.
There was no answer. She called Eadie's phone next and he
didn't answer. Kendra felt uneasy. Janeann called her
back and told her appellant had just shot Eadie and there was
Upon cross-examination of Janeann by appellee, a different
version of the dispute between appellant and his sister
emerged. Janeann acknowledged appellant is a chronic
alcoholic and that his all-day drinking caused the problems
that led to the shooting. She also acknowledged she
habitually called Eadie to deal with her problems because she
knew he would respond instantly and take care of whatever she
On the day of the shooting, she texted back and forth with
appellant, arguing over his treatment of Kendra and the
disappearance of Janeann's .9 millimeter firearm. The
texts between Janeann and appellant were introduced at trial
as appellee's Exhibit 15. Janeann and detectives scrolled
through messages on her phone on video, revealing the extent
of their argument. Appellant taunted Janeann for sending
Eadie to the house to deal with him.
Appellant had taken Janeann's firearm from a drawer in
her bedroom, and both Janeann and Eadie were aware he had it,
although appellant claimed to have dismantled it and buried
it in pieces throughout the backyard. Janeann knew appellant
had access to two guns, her own .9 millimeter and the .22
rifle. During her own confrontation with him, appellant had
pointed the .22 rifle at Janeann and at himself. She believed
appellant was despondent because he knew she was leaving in
January to take a new job and no one else would take him in.
The family was sensitive to threats of suicide because
another brother of Janeann and appellant had killed himself.
Janeann acknowledged the first person who came to mind to
help her was David Eadie, and she called him for the express
purpose of getting the guns away from appellant. Despite
Kendra advising her to call the police, she called Eadie
instead and repeatedly asked him to deal with appellant, who
was armed and drunk.
Janeann acknowledged that after the shooting, while she was
on the phone with 911, appellant laughed in the background
and she had to tell him "there's nothing
and appellant's statement to detectives
Several Canton police officers sped to the scene of the
reported shooting. They found a male and a female on the
porch of the Hursh Place address, later identified as
appellant and Janeann. Appellant staggered and seemed
intoxicated; he mumbled and slurred his speech. Appellant was
cuffed and placed in a patrol car and officers cleared the
house. They found David Eadie deceased in the upstairs
hallway. The .9-millimeter Smith and Wesson firearm was
located on the bathroom sink with the magazine out and
Appellant was transported to the Canton Police Department
Detective Bureau for questioning. Detective Prince spoke to
appellant about six hours after he arrived; he was initially
too intoxicated to make a statement. He was given time and
food to allow him to sober up.
Appellant said there was an argument and he shot Eadie three
times. He said he "couldn't have made a clearer shot
on a deer [he] was trying to kill." Eadie had taken the
.22 rifle and appellant's cell phone during the earlier
encounter with appellant, when they fought and were separated
by Janeann. Appellant told Detective Prince that Eadie struck
him so hard in the stomach that he defecated on himself.
Eadie went downstairs after the physical altercation and
yelled to appellant, "You've got two minutes."
He then told appellant he would let appellant's dogs
loose out the front door. Rather than go downstairs,
appellant remained in his bedroom and armed himself with the
.9-millimeter firearm. Appellant claimed he was aware of an
incident in which Eadie had "shot up the house," so
he didn't want Eadie to get the .9 millimeter.
Appellant thus sat on the corner of his bed with the firearm
cocked, and as Eadie came up the steps and into the bedroom,
appellant said "No" and fired three times.
Appellant said he didn't want to hurt anyone but he also
did not want to be beaten by Eadie again. He said he
didn't know if Eadie had anything in his hands as he came
up the stairs and he "didn't need to know" if
he had anything in his hands: appellant didn't want to be
Appellant acknowledged Eadie came back upstairs in search of
the .9 millimeter, intending to take it from him. When asked
why appellant didn't just give the gun back to Janeann,
he claimed she never asked for it.
Appellant did not complain of any injuries to detectives and
no visible injuries were observed.
Three shell casings were found inside the bedroom. Eadie was
at the doorway of appellant's bedroom; his feet were at
the doorway and his head was extended down the hallway,
almost to the stairs. Eadie had been shot in the left side of
his head, in the chest, and above his lip.
The .22 Mossberg rifle was also recovered from the house; it
was found ...